NEW figures have revealed women in Barnsley earn more than their male counterparts - despite a widening of the gender pay gap across the country.

Office for National Statistics figures show women in Barnsley were earning an average of £16.28 per hour as of April - 1.1 per cent more than men, who were paid £16.11.

The average pay gap in the country stood at 8.2 per cent this year, with male workers making £18.14 per hour, while female workers earned £16.65.

The figures are based on full-time workers’ median wages and exclude overtime pay.

A spokesperson for the government’s Equality Hub said: “The gender pay gap has been trending downwards since 1997, and the government continues to take significant action to ensure women can reach their full potential at work.

“We are starting a childcare revolution with an increase to 30 hours free childcare from nine months to school age, £100m in capital funding to help nurseries expand, and £289m for the wraparound care across the country.

“Millions of employees will be able to request flexible working from day one, and our STEM returners programme is getting carers back into the workplace.”

Barnsley is one of the few areas across the country where women are paid more than men - and the Fawcett Society have worked out women will theoretically start working ‘for free’ from November 22, which has now been dubbed ‘Equal Pay Day’.

The charity’s chief executive, Jemima Olchawski, said: “This is just 48 hours later than last year and represents a glacial shift in the gender pay gap of just 0.2 percentage points.

“There are so many policy interventions that could turn the dial but the simplest of them all is making flexible work the default.

“A lack of genuinely flexible, quality work traps women in roles below their capabilities and encourages the notion that flexible work is a privilege, not an essential part of a modern economy.

“This is a big reason we have a persistent gender pay gap which harms women and our economy.”

In Barnsley men’s wages saw an annual growth of 15.5 per cent, while women earned 19.5 per cent more than they did a year ago.

Women in the south-east of England suffered the greatest inequality, with a pay difference of 12.9 per cent, while Scotland reported the narrowest gap - 1.7 per cent.

In Yorkshire and the Humber the gender pay gap stood at 10.5 per cent.

Rebecca Florisson, principal analyst at the Work Foundation at Lancaster University, said: “Although the gender pay gap has narrowed over time, it remains substantial.

“We know that women are nearly twice as likely as men to be in insecure and low-paid work, and the picture is even worse for mothers.

“We must ensure fewer women feel the need to trade job security against flexibility.

“That means boosting the provision of affordable care and childcare options, and embedding flexibility across a much greater proportion of secure and well-paid jobs.”