Gender pay gap

Bridge gender pay gap for equality

One of the areas where inequality between gender still exists strongly in our society is in terms of wages. While progress has been made in reducing the gender inequalities in areas such as education, workforce participation, and health, the pay gap remains an area where gender equality is still very much needed.

The gender pay gap determines the difference between the average earnings for both genders. It is different from paying two people differently for the same work. This is known as equal pay, and it is unlawful. One of the measures of the economic position of women, when compared to men, is the gender pay gap. Most times, what reduces the earning capacity of women includes various economic and social factors.

Factors influencing the gender pay gap

• Unconscious and conscious bias and discrimination in hiring and wages decision
• Men and women working in different industries and jobs and female-dominated jobs and industries having lower pay
• Lack of flexibility in the workplace which will accommodate responsibilities such as caring, especially for the senior positions
• The high rate of women doing part-time work
• Women bearing a disproportionate share of domestic and caring work.
Gender pay gap may start as early as when the woman enters the workforce with various factors affecting the economic security of women throughout their lifetime, all of which leads to them earning less than men, advancing slower in their careers, and accumulating lower savings and superannuation than their male counterpart. This means they are likely to face poverty in their old age.
The gap existing in earnings merely reflects a much deeper problem that exists in the workplace and by extension, the society. It is a result of the systemic and historical undervaluation of the contributions of women in the workplace and barriers that make the female gender to be underrepresented in top management and executive roles.
For us to close the gender pay gap, it will take more than equal pay. There’s a need for a shift in the culture that will ensure that all the barriers that currently hinder the participation of women in the workplace will be removed. This includes giving them genuine access to work and career opportunities and not regarding any industry, occupation, or level of seniority as being exclusive for men. Statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Workplace Gender Equality Agency shows that there’s a gender pay gap that favours full time working men over women in every occupational category and industry in Australia. According to ABS, the national gender pay gap is at 13.9%, which is a fair drop from 19% to 15% that it was for the last two decades.

Equal Pay

This is sometimes confused with the gender pay gap, but it is not the same thing. It is when both genders get equal pay for doing work of comparable or equal value. By interpretation, women and men doing the same work will be paid the same amount and women and men doing different work that have comparable or equal value will be paid the same amount. However, equal pay goes beyond equal wages and touches on allowances, discretionary pay, merit payments, performance payments, superannuation, and bonus payments.

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