By Gemma Donahoe.
The statistics regarding how much more men are paid than women are appalling. And while the gender pay gap is not as bad as it used to be – with woman currently earning about 16.2 per cent less than men – that’s still not to say it isn’t bad, as that’s still around $13,577.20 less a year.
The Australian gender pay gap statistics that were released last year showed the highest gender pay gap was found in Western Australia at around 23.9 per cent. The worst year was 2014, and last year was on a par with 2009 figures. But 2009 still had worse gender inequity than 10 years before that. It is a sad fiscal see-saw.
The Workplace Gender Equality Agency works out the pay gap each year, using data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics as well as separate data from individual industries.
There is a myth that the pay gap does not exist, and that it’s unfair to compare all industries at once. Yet even the female-dominated industries such as social services and health care still has a high pay gap of 23.7 per cent. The argument that women take on more family-orientated responsibilities and tend to work in lower paid industries is partly true, although bias on gender roles still exits in every work place.
WGEA engagement executive manager Jackie Woods explained to Triple J that most people have an idea of what the “ideal” employee already looks like. This is someone who can be on call all day as well as being able to work long days, not women who have at-home responsibilities. This “ideal norm” has pushed women into lower-paying jobs because these are more flexible around the few hours they can work. Almost 50 per cent of pregnant women also find discrimination in the work place, a 2014 study showed.
The Human Rights Commission found that up to 84 per cent of women during their pregnancy reported physical and mental stress, which damaged their careers. News.com.au put together graphs from the taxation office statistics of 2014-2015 which put into perspective just how much more men are earning.
So why don’t women just ask for a raise? Well they do. Once again, biased views comes in to play and women are overlooked when raises are given out. A study by the Cass Business School in London revealed that women were 25 per cent less likely to get a raise than men. Expecting to find evidence that women were less pushy than men, they actually found the two to be equal in requests.
Our society has moved one from the days when men were given preference as the breadwinners for the family. There are few such things as averages at work and often, women are now taking the lead at home and work.
It is high time women were paid their due.