Gender Pay Gap: Facts & Fictions

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Topics Gender
Gender Pay Gap Facts& Fictions

It’s Equal Pay Day on Monday 4 September.  Equal Pay Day marks the extra time women have to work past the end of the financial year in order to catch up to what men had been paid.  It recognises the ongoing discrepancy in remuneration between men and women and how women in the workforce are still undervalued.

Using Average Weekly Earnings data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) calculates the national gender pay gap to be 15.3%. On average, men working full-time earned $1,638.30 and women earned $1,387.10, a difference of $251.20 per week. This is a decrease of 0.9% as between May 2016 and May 2017, women’s weekly earnings grew by 2.6%, while men’s weekly earnings grew by 1.5%.

Each year when we reach this point there is much debate and discussion on the gender pay gap.  So what are the facts and the myths when it comes to the gender pay gap?

The Facts

Last year DCA worked with KPMG and WGEA to clearly explain the very real economic factors contributing to the gender pay gap. The report She’s Price(d)less – the economics of the gender pay gap used econometric modelling to explain the causes underlying the pay gap.  The two leading factors were found to be:

  • Sex discrimination, where women are paid less than men simply because they are women, is the single largest factor contributing to the gender pay gap, accounting for 38%.
  • Years out, the length of time out of the workforce primarily for caring responsibilities, makes up 21% of the gap.

The Fiction

  • Women ‘choose’ to work part-time
    The 2016 Census once again showed that women do the bulk of unpaid caring roles in families and given that men are paid more than women it isn’t really a choice but a financial necessity for the higher wage earner to be in full-time work.
  • Women ‘choose’ lower paying jobs
    Research shows that when women move into an industry in larger numbers, the work is devalued and everyone is paid less.  Another study shows that the higher the percentage of women in an industry the lower its perceived ‘prestige’.

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