A group of MPs is demanding that greater steps are taken to combat a "motherhood penalty" that has left women being paid less than men.
A report by the Women and Equalities Select Committee said the government has failed to close the pay gap. It said policies were needed to tackle barriers such as women's disproportionate responsibility for childcare and low part-time wages.
It warned that the UK economy was suffering as a result. It estimated that a failure to use women's skills was costing the country £36bn a year, equal to 2% of GDP. A 19.2% difference in pay for full and part time workers has remained the same for four years, the committee found, with women aged between 50 and 57 facing a differential of 27%.
MPs said more should be done to help women return to work and not enough attention has been paid to low wages of women in sectors such as retail, care and cleaning.