Increasing gender discrimination a barrier to equal pay

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KPMG
Media releases

Increasing gender discrimination a barrier to equal pay

New economic analysis out today

Key Findings

  • This report finds, once again, that stubborn gender stereotypes about the roles men and women play in paid work and caring, continue to drive the gender pay gap. These stereotypes still shape the working lives of Australian men and women.
  • Closing the primary drivers of the gender pay gap is equivalent to $437 million per week, or almost $23 billion per year in direct wages.
  • The gender pay gap will only close with continued effort from government, employers and the community.

Ten years on from a landmark report[i] examining the economic implications of the gender pay gap in Australia, an updated report released today by KPMG Australia found that gender discrimination continues to be the single largest factor contributing to the gender pay gap. And disturbingly, it’s on the increase.

The KPMG report, She’s Price(d)less: The Economics of the Gender Pay Gap, which was prepared for Diversity Council Australia (DCA) and the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), uses structured economic analysis to determine the factors that underpin the gender pay gap, and to what extent they contribute.

The report shows that deeply entrenched gender stereotypes about the roles men and women play in paid work and caring continue to be the driving force behind the gender pay gap. The report found that:

  • Gender discrimination continues to be the biggest contributing factor to the pay gap, accounting for almost two-fifths (39%) of the gender pay gap,
  • ​The combined impact of years not working due to interruptions, part-time employment and unpaid work contributed to 39% of the gender pay gap.
  • Occupational and industrial segregation are still significant contributors to the gender pay gap at 17%.

Understanding the drivers of the gender pay gap is critical to designing interventions to close the gap.

This analysis shows that closing the primary drivers of the gender pay gap is equivalent to $445 million per week, or almost $23 billion per year.

These findings are in line with the 2018 KPMG report, Ending workforce discrimination against women, which found that halving the gender pay gap in Australia and increasing female workforce participation rates could increase annual GDP by $60 billion and lift cumulative living standards $140 billion by 2038.

“Evidence reflected in this report identifies the key drivers of Australia’s gender pay gap – gender discrimination, occupational segregation and years not working due to interruptions – such as child care and caring for elderly family members. 

“These findings provide crucial knowledge that can help government and business take action and build on the progress that has been made. Solving the challenge of Australia’s gender pay gap is not only fair and sensible, it’s an economically responsible endeavor.”

said Alison Kitchen, Chairman, KPMG Australia.

“Despite excellent work that many DCA members are undertaking to close the gap in their own organisations, structural inequalities and rigid gender-norms continue to diminish our capacity to provide pay equality across the economy. We need to challenge ideas that the vast majority of caring responsibilities and housework should fall to women,”

said Lisa Annese, CEO, Diversity Council Australia.

“We know there are many actions employers can take to achieve pay equity. But we cannot rely solely on the actions of employers if we are going to close the gender pay gap. We must also change the outlook, the hearts and minds of all Australians.  We must challenge ourselves in order to change the very ingrained gender stereotypes that underpin the gender pay gap,”

said Libby Lyons, Director of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.

DOWNLOAD THE FULL MEDIA RELEASEDCA, KPMG, WGEA Joint release

ACCESS THE REPORT: She’s Price(d)less: The Economics of the Gender Pay Gap

For further information contact: Whitney Fitzsimmons | KPMG | 0448 285 646 | wfitzsimmons@kpmg.com.au


[i] Understanding the Economic Implications of the Gender Pay Gap in Australia, 2009, KPMG Australia.


 

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