Gender pay gap will close … in 2058, new report finds


Gender pay gap
Gender pay equality in 2058? Not soon enough, we say

A new report out of America has found that women are likely to receive pay parity with men … in 2058. Depressing, right?

Though according to the World Economic Forum it’s actually worse, they estimated that gender equality in the workplace would be achieved in 80 years. In 2095.

Australia is ranked 24 out of 132 in the world when it comes to pay gap, and in Australia women represent only 7 per cent of board members.

And new figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics suggest that the pay gap is Australia is actually the widest it’s been since it was first measured in 1994.

Men working full time earn an average of $1,587.40 a week, whereas women earn an average of $298.10 less. The gap has jumped 0.7 per cent since May 2014.

These figures match data from the Work Place Gender Equity Agency that suggests women in executive management jobs get as much as 45 per cent less than their male peers.

So if you’re side eyeing the guy in the cubicle next to you, you can pretty much be sure that he’s earning more than you – for the same job.

One of the key issues is, and will remain so until we figure out a way to solve it, is creating affordable and accessible childcare arrangements so that women can re-enter the workforce – or not be afraid to leave it – after having children.

As author of Bad Feminist Roxane Gay said at last week’s All About Women festival, Childcare and unfettered access to birth control are two fundamental issues for women. They’ve remained that way for the past 30 years.

This is especially galling when you consider that women are now more likely to advance their education, enrolling in university at a higher rate than their male counterparts.

Another key area for improvement is the way ‘traditionally female’ career paths are viewed.

“Now, [on top of] all the traditional barriers that women face – participating fully in the workforce, access to affordable child care, and getting paid your full salary or a decent salary while you’re on maternity leave – women are overrepresented in the community and care sector or those industries that are paid less,” the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) president Ged Kearney told the ABC earlier this year.

“We have to ask ourselves why we undervalue those industries.

“This is really distressing; the gender pay gap is rising and nothing seems to be done about it.”

And if the fact that we’re not likely to see pay parity in our lifetime isn’t enough to do something about it, then what is?

As Patricia Arquette said this week in a follow-on from her roof-raising speech about gender pay equality at the Oscars last month, women deserve better.

“This is about supporting families, and getting women what they have already earned for their own hard work. Hold your lawmakers accountable … We are a movement, and we are making changes for our daughters. We matter,” she said at the U.N. Women at the launch of its Planet 50-50 by 2030 initiative – a call to arms to make international gender equality a reality within the next 15 years, not 80.


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