In my short career (of just under 3 years) I have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by strong female leaders and as a result, I myself have never faced the issue of gender discrimination head on. However for those women who have been in the workforce longer or fighting for their place in male dominated workplaces and industries, the gender pay gap in Australia is still a very real issue and #FFS, women have had enough!
- Average full-time weekly earnings for women $1,325.10
- Average full-time weekly earnings for men $1,602.80
- Full-time gender pay gap 17.3%
- For the past 2 decades the pay gap has been stuck, fluctuating between 15%-18%
- The gender pay gap is higher among managers than non-managers
- Managers pay gap 28.8%
- Non-managers pay gap 20.9%
How do we rate on a global scale?
Short answer: not good. The top 4 countries are Iceland, Finland, Norway & Sweden, so no surprises there that the scandinavians with their shorter work weeks and modern forward-thinking policies are the ones who have it all figured out.
Skip down the list 46 places and you'll find Australia, sitting just behind the U.S, Trinidad & Tabago and Jamaica. I bet if we asked you before reading this where we landed on the ladder many of you would have at least expected a top 15 finish.
So what's the reason for the pay gap?
In 1984 the Sex Discrimination Act came into force so that women couldn't legally be discriminated against in the work force on the basis of gender, sexuality, marital status, family responsibilities or because they were pregnant.
This is progress, sure, but let's be real; with or without this act, these are still the barriers to bridging the pay gap. There are so many ways for companies (with their lawyers and budgets) to get around this act and whether we like to admit it or not, the law only protects those who have the money to stand up for themselves in court.
The problem is not that there aren't protective laws for women in place, the problem is cultural and it shouldn't just be women fighting for change.
Illegal or not, the pay gap exists because some employers consider gender as a factor for determining an employee's salary and their current and future roles in a company. Gender is not a factor, in fact it is completely irrelevant and Australians should be paid for the job they do. It is really that simple.
What are Health Lab doing to help?
Other than celebrating women in everything we do, Health Lab are also the founding partner of the Fuelling Female Success initiative. A program put in place to bring entrepreneurship education into Australian classrooms and empower our girls to be their own boss and create their own opportunities. Find out more about it here.