The Gender Pay Gap

Grace C (Year 10), Chief Contributor

As I’m sitting here writing this article, I’m aware of the fact that this is a controversial topic among some which is why I want to start with some facts.  

Annual data is collected by Australia’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency or WEGA and they use that to calculate these stats. As of November 2021, in Australia, there was a 13.8% average difference in weekly income between men and women with women on average earning $255.30 less than men. 

To calculate this, they times 100% by the average male income minus the average female income over the average male income. 

Now that I’ve bored you with the maths and statistics let’s get more into why this is such an issue and how come it hasn’t been resolved yet. 

While technically discrimination against workers because of their sex among other things such as race, religion and political beliefs is illegal under the Fair Work Act (2009) it still occurs. According to WEGA it is a “symptom of a broader cultural problem in the workplace”. 

While I could go on forever on the various long-term effects of history’s patriarchal systems, I’m only going to briefly touch on it now as it is a contributing factor in the wage gap. WEGA states that women have a “disproportionate share of unpaid caring and domestic work” which is a reminder that there was a time when many women would stay at home and take over the domestic aspects and couldn’t work. Also, still, today, women are still more likely to take on the more domestic aspects of life. 

I think it’s unfair to say that this is a completely purposefully discriminatory issue because unfortunately there are factors such as the fact that many female-dominated careers attract lower wages and that women spend more time out of the workforce due to caring responsibilities. 

I do not want to be a negative Nancy; the pay gap is closing with a decrease of 0.4% from May to November of 2021 and a nearly 5% drop over the last 6 or so years. Equality between the sexes has improved greatly but there are still discrepancies such as this and it’s harmful to ignore the fact that it is a real issue.