Women earn almost a quarter of a million pounds less than men over the course of a lifetime, according to new research.
The pay gap emerges as soon as a young woman starts work, with those aged 22 to 29 being paid an average of £1,500 a year less than their male colleagues, rising to £7,600 when they are in their 50s, a study found.
The Young Women's Trust estimated that the difference amounted to around £223,000 across a woman's lifetime, often caused by a lack of women in senior jobs, having caring responsibilities, or discrimination.
Chief executive Dr Carole Easton said: "We know that many young women are struggling to make ends meet because they are more likely to be on low pay. Discrimination and unequal caring arrangements still prevent them progressing at work and reaching higher salary bands.
"We need to help more women into male-dominated sectors and into senior positions. Helping parents share childcare more equally and supporting women back into the workforce after taking time out through flexible working opportunities would make a big difference, too.
"Where companies find they have a gap, there should be a requirement to put in place a plan to close it. Without action, today's young women face a lifetime of unequal pay."