That’s the message from Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA)’s Mary Wooldridge who says while the gender pay gap is trending in the right direction, we need to be mindful that today’s gender pay gap is only a limited reflection of the true situation.
Average weekly earnings data, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), shows that women earn, on average, 87 cents for every $1 earned by a man. As of November 2022, women’s average weekly ordinary full-time earnings across all industries and occupations are $1,653.60. Australian men’s average weekly ordinary full-time earnings are $1,907.10. That's $253.50 less than men each week.
WGEA Director Mary Wooldridge urged employers and employees to be mindful that today’s gender pay gap only reflects base salary for full-time workers.
"The gender pay gap is a handbrake on women’s ability to make ends meet. With inflation at 7.8%, and rising, everyday essentials are becoming increasingly unaffordable," Ms Wooldridge said.
"Women are $253.50 worse off every single week as a result of their gender."
"Over the course of one year, the weekly difference of $253.50 adds up to $13,182. That’s income that could have gone towards meeting bills, mortgage repayments or additional contributions to superannuation funds for retirement.
"Gender pay gaps are a reflection of the way we value women’s and men’s contributions in the workforce.
"Employers who don’t make gender equality a priority will fail to attract and retain female talent and won’t benefit from the increased productivity, innovation and profitability that flows from embracing diversity in your workforce We must not forget that today’s calculation is a limited reflection of the true gender pay gap because it doesn’t include bonuses, overtime payments or superannuation.”
Ms Wooldridge said the total remuneration gender pay gap is consistently 5% greater than the gender pay gap for base salaries alone.
"Today’s gender pay gap also doesn’t include the wages of part-time or casual workers, many of whom are lower paid and also women," Ms Wooldridge said.
"As a business leader, if you are aware that your organisation has a gender pay gap and you take no action to close it, you are effectively sending a message to women that the work they do is of less value than that of men.
"Employers and business leaders need to step up and take action to ensure the work of all their employees is valued and rewarded equitably.
"By closing Australia’s gender pay gap, we will improve the lives of Australian women, their families and communities and move closer towards the goal of being a world-leader in gender equality."
As many Australians struggle with sharp increases in the cost of groceries, energy, fuel and housing, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) is calling attention to the disproportionate effect this persistent pay gap has for Australian women.
National Australia Bank’s latest Australian Wellbeing Survey found around 1 in 3 Australians are experiencing “high” levels of anxiety. The most common cause of that stress – for more than 1 in 2 respondents – is the cost-of-living, with women reporting much higher levels of financial stress than men.
Meeting the costs of needs that are essential to daily life and financial security, like medical bills and healthcare, major household items and raising $2,000 for an emergency, were named as the most common causes of that stress.