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Equal Pay Day 2020 in Australia sees a 14% gender pay gap.

 August 27, 2020

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The gap in what women and men are paid

The gender pay gap shows the difference between the average earnings of women and men in the workforce, which is caused by historical and systemic socio-economic factors rooted in gender inequality. 

Australia marks its Equal Pay Day, which in 2020 marks the 59 extra days from the end of the previous financial year that women on average have to work to make the same amount of money that men have earned.

Causes of the gender pay gap

The gender pay gap is caused by a number of factors.

For example, bias in hiring and pay; caring and domestic responsibilities bringing women out of work; fewer women in leadership roles; a greater proportion of women in part-time work; unequal access to career opportunities; and female-dominated industries offering lower wages.

Gender equality is a commercial imperative

According to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) has calculated that the new national gender pay gap for the six months to May 2020 is 14.0% for full-time employees. This is a difference of $253.60 per week.

On average, women working full-time earned AUD 1,558.40 while men working full-time earned AUD 1,812.00.

“Data would suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected women and men differently. More Australian women than men have lost their jobs since COVID-19 struck. A number of female-dominated industries have suffered the worst of the job losses. All the evidence we have suggests that COVID-19 is seriously jeopardising women’s long-term economic and financial security and workforce participation," explains WGEA Director Libby Lyons.

“This is why I am again urging employers to ensure that gender equality is a top business priority in their organisations. I know many employers are doing it tough right now. However, it is critical that the COVID-19 crisis does not see a decline in the many gains we have all worked so hard to achieve over the last few years, such as more women in leadership roles," she continues.

"Gender equality IS good for business...We now know categorically that gender equality is a commercial imperative and provides organisations with a competitive edge over their business rivals...Gender equality is central to our economic recovery. Women and men must have an equal opportunity to re-engage and participate in the workforce as we move into the recovery phase," she adds.

“Pursuing improved gender equality outcomes in Australian workplaces is also one of the fastest ways to close this nation’s persistent gender pay gap. This Equal Pay Day, I implore all Australian employers to not only continue the drive but to step up the action for gender quality. Addressing pay equity and ensuring the work of female employees is valued and rewarded equitably is a great place to start."

Work for a company that values the work of female employees

Equal Pay Day is a good time to reflect whether gender equality a top business priority for your company.

Where Women Work's community of Prime Employees for Women are committed to a gender equal workplace where women are rewarded fairly for their work.

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Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.


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