There are signs that millennia of gender disparity are in a slow but steady reversal. Latest HMRC figures show that the number of women on incomes of more than £1m per year grew by 29% in one year, almost three times as fast as their male counterparts, the number of which increased by 10%.
Of course, this comes from a much lower base, as the startling graph below demonstrates. The figures, which were obtained by financial advice firm Radius Equity, show that 10,200 men and just 900 women received salaries of more than £1m in 2012.
But there are positive sings of change further down the income spectrum too. In 2013/14 there were 1.21 million female higher rate taxpayers, up 17% on the previous year’s 1.03 million, compared to a 13% increase for men.
‘It’s very encouraging to see the number of top earning women expanding so quickly,’ said Gary Robins, director at Radius Equity. ‘The fact that this is for both higher rate tax payers and those with an income of £1m highlights the growing success of all UK businesswomen, not just the elite. However, there’s a long way to go to close what remains a significant gender divide when it comes to wealth creation.’
Robins said that he expects the list of top earning women to be dominated by city highflyers and entrepreneurs. While it's true that recent years have seen impressive success stories like Hayley Parsons of GoCompare (pictured) and Denise Coates of Bet365, the upper echelons of the Rich List is dominated by those with inherited and family wealth - both men and women.