If you’re a woman holding down a full-time job, you aren’t being paid as much as your male colleagues.
The Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) points to Australian Bureau of Statistic that show women’s full-time earnings, on average, are 17.1 per cent less per week than men’s.
“This persistent pay gap is both concerning and frustrating. And sadly, there is a pay gap in favour of men in every single industry,” said Helen Conway, director of the agency.
This persistent pay gap is not only frustrating for women, but causes inequality between men and women. This is a harsh reality for women who have to take care of family or live independently. The pay gap is another speed hump to that road of independence. Jackie Woods, communications manager for WGEA, told The Newsroom she thinks women and men have different access to workplace experience saying men tend to progress to senior management roles much more easily and faster than women.
Although action is being taken to fill the pay gap, it is not happening fast enough. According to the agency, women comprise nearly half of all the employees in Australia. The pay gap between men and women not only causes inequality, but could also discourage women from working, which continues the cycle of inequality. Despite aspirations for more women in senior leadership roles, progress over the past 10 years has been slow because there is a lack of access to resources such as education and workplace training.
There are many other factors also causing the pay gap, like societal factors including the stereotypes between men and women and the roles they should play in a family. The gender pay gap is exacerbated by the different working patterns between women and men, the different industries, and the different level of seniority that they reach in organisations. Jackie Woods told The Newsroom, “Sadly, there is a lack of women in senior positions and also women are more likely than men to work part-time or flexibly because they still undertake most of society’s unpaid caring work.”
Access to education for women has always been a big debate, not only in Australia but around the world. Michelle Obama, wife of the US President, has spoken at the UN about her education initiative for girls around the world called Let Girls Learn. Work experience is also a factor when it comes to taking on a senior role because some women might not have the experience. They are unable to gain it in the first place due to social factors being taken into consideration, such as wanting to have kids but the corporation is unwilling to give maternity leave.
It is about time the pay gap disappeared. Women should have the same access to higher paying jobs, and both women and men need to be informed of the way women are discriminated in the workforce in order to take the steps in changing this distressing figure.
As a first step, sign this petition which is a step in the right direction. – Nadya Joun
Top photo by Vishnavi Kulentsirarasa.