Minister for Woman and Equality, Harriet Harman has called for an end to unequal pay and treatment of women in the financial sector.

Ms Harman’s plea comes in light of figures released by the Government Equalities Office which show that men in the City get paid 40 per cent more on average than their female counterparts.

The national average gender pay gap is 22.6 per cent, which makes financial workers in the city those who have to contend with the highest discrepancy between male and female pay.

Talking at a trade union equality conference on Monday (February 9th), Ms Harman said: "The "gender pay gap" in financial services is worse than in manufacturing, retail, or any other sector."

She added: "We need a real overhaul of the pay and prospects of women in the city. The Equality Commission will be using their legal powers to investigate this."

In addition to the investigation, Ms Harman said that the new Equality Bill will contain "some tough measures", which she said should "help further narrow the gender pay gap".

Brendan Barber, recently argued that equality should be a priority for businesses during a recession.