The difference in wages between genders is an issue that seems to be a matter of on-going controversy, and remains an unresolved topic in all parts of the world. When researched, it’s horrifying to see how big the wage gap really is and how slow the change is happening. Between 1998 and 2018 the national gender pay gap in Australia was lowest in November 2018 at 14.1%, and highest in November 2014 at 18.5%. Women constantly striving for equal rights are no different now in 2019 than they were 50 years ago.
How is the gender pay gap calculated?
The gender pay gap is the difference between men and women’s average full-time weekly salaries, expressed as a percentage of men’s salaries. Pointing out that the difference is not based on like roles, industries and employment hours but an overall average.
Back in November 2018 women’s average weekly full-time earnings across all industries was $1,455.80 compared to men’s average weekly full-time earnings of $1,695.60. Western Australia has the widest gap at 23.1% with Victoria and South Australia having the smallest. According to the WGEA (Workplace gender equality agency) women earn on average $239.80 per week less than men.
Look around. Does Tony or Sally on the desk next to you earn less than you? or maybe more than you? Maybe if you knew this was the case, you would feel encouraged to take a stand!
The Financial and Insurance Services, Social Assistance, Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services have the highest gender pay gap with the female dominated health care industry also having one of the highest differences. The lowest gaps are in the Public Administration and Safety and Retail Trade services.
Good news for women under 20, the pay gap is at its smallest. However, for those aged 35-44, and for the over 55 bracket, the gender pay gap is at its highest. Women aged 55 and over have been found less likely to receive promotions, and therefore less likely to hold higher paying roles. This is due to the fact that women are more likely than men to have spent time at home caring for children and on unpaid maternity leave.
But it’s not all bad news- Iceland was the first country to enforce equal pay for men and women. In January 2018, a new law was passed in Iceland that meant every business with over 25 employees had to have a certificate to prove they pay everyone in the same roles equally.
Even popular brands like Adidas are coming around to the equal pay movement with their newest Equal Pay for Equal Play campaign. The winning athletes in the FIFA Women’s World Cup will receive the same bonus pay out as their male peers.
Executive Board Member and Head of Global Brands, Eric Liedtke said on Twitter: “We believe in inspiring and enabling the next generation of female athletes, creators and leaders through breaking barriers.”.
Australia’s leading sports organisations have released plans to advance equal pay for women athletes. Founder of MCC Sport Elizabeth Broderick said “Yet equal pay — the most visible manifestation of a genuine commitment to equality — still remains out of reach for elite women athletes across many sports,”
In light of all this controversy how do we eliminate the gender pay gap once and for all? It’s not going to be an overnight fix but there are definitely practises that can be put in place to ensure fair and equal pay in the workplace for both men and women.
According to a study prepared by the Market Inspector in November 2018 certain steps can help decrease gender pay gap- from government intervention to enforced paternity leave, as well as transparency in salary and promoting female entrepreneurship.
For Amnesty, the bottom line is that no matter your gender, race, age or religion all women and men are equal. Therefore having equal opportunities, equal rights and the ability to change the game.
Keep the awareness strong and change will happen!
To find out more go to https://www.wgea.gov.au/data/fact-sheets/australias-gender-pay-gap-statist
Words by Madelaine Knowles