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LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Female directors of Britain’s biggest financial services companies earn on average 66% less than their male counterparts, according to a study published on Monday, despite an increase in the number of women on boards these last years.

Female board members earned £247,100 ($349,720) on average a year while men earned £722,300, according to law firm Fox & Partners’ study, which looked at pay gaps in financial companies that are among the 350 largest listed companies in the country.

“Despite higher levels of diversity at junior levels, financial services companies are still struggling to reflect this change at the senior management level,” said Catriona Watt, partner at Fox & Partners.

“In order to see long-term change, companies need to commit to taking action that will allow more women to move up the ranks, into leadership positions and close the pay gap,” he said. she said in a statement.

The number of women on boards of FTSE 350 companies has jumped 50% in the past five years, reaching 1,026 in 2020, according to the Hampton-Alexander Review, an independent body aiming to boost gender diversity on the FTSE Boards.

More than a third of board positions are now also held by women, the review said last week, meeting the target it had set for the end of 2020.

Yet disparities exist, even at the top. The Fox & Partners study found that women directors of financial services companies on the FTSE 350 mostly held non-executive positions, which meant they were paid less and had fewer responsibilities than men.

“These shocking figures prove that the gender pay gap is growing,” said Felicia Willow, head of women’s rights group the Fawcett Society, which was not involved in the report.

“There are not enough women in leadership positions and those who have made it are too often paid less than men.”

A year ago, Britain suspended the requirement for companies to report on the gender pay gap in their workforce due to the coronavirus pandemic, a move the government says will not would not derail attempts to pay just men and women.

Since 2017, the government has required employers with more than 250 employees to submit figures on the gender pay gap each year in order to reduce pay disparities.

The gap narrowed last year, with men earning an average of 15.5% more than women, compared to 17.4% in 2019, according to official data.

Companies will now have until October 5 to report pay gaps, according to the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Reporting by Lin Taylor @linnytayls; Editing by Helen Popper. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, which spans the lives of people around the world struggling to live freely or fairly. Visit news.trust.org to see more stories.