The Women and Work Commission said the gender pay gap is worse in Britain than anywhere in Europe. It found that women in full-time work were earning 17% less than men.
Among its 40 recommendations, the Commission said there should be more Government support and improved vocational training.
One member of the Commission John Cridland of the CBI said: "It is because of structural problems; because of young girls' choices in schools and the fact that our careers education system completely fails to make them realise that the choices they make will determine what they earn".
But unions criticised the report for failing to recommend compulsory pay reviews to ensure women are not being paid less than their male counterparts.
Derek Simpson, general secretary of Amicus, said the report had ‘deliberately missed the point,’ adding that without compulsory pay audits, women will have to wait until ‘Doomsday’ to earn the same as men.
The Commission believes girls should be encouraged to think about non-traditional jobs as well as apprenticeships for women, especially in sectors with skill shortages.
In its ‘Shaping a Fairer Future’ report, the Commission said those with child care responsibilities are often forced to take part-time employment below their skill level where the problem is even worse.
The Commission was set up by Tony Blair in 2004 to examine women's experiences in the workplace and barriers affecting career progression.