Pay equity means equal pay for work of equal or comparable value, regardless of gender.
The gender pay gap measures the difference between women's and men's average weekly full-time equivalent earnings, expressed as a percentage of men's earnings. This is calculated by using Australian Bureau of Statistics' Average Weekly Full-Time Earnings data (cat. No. 6302.0)
The national gender pay gap is currently 16.2%, a decrease of 1.7 percentage points over the previous 12-month period1 and has hovered between 15% and 18% for the past two decades.2
In 2016 Equal Pay Day fell on 8 September, marking the date of the additional time women would have to work on average since the previous financial year to make the same amount as men.
Lower wage rates mean lower lifetime earnings for women. The gender pay gap has implications for women's financial security, particularly in old age.
The gender pay gap is influenced by a number of interrelated factors, including:
- stereotypes about women and men's roles and the way women and men 'should' engage in the workforce
- women and men working in different industries and different jobs. Historically, female-dominated industries and jobs have attracted lower wages than male-dominated industries and jobs
- a lack of women in senior positions, and a lack of part-time or flexible senior roles. Women still undertake most of society's unpaid caring work and may find it difficult to access senior roles
- women's more precarious attachment to the workforce (largely due to their unpaid caring responsibilities)
- differences in education, work experience and seniority
- discrimination, both direct and indirect.3
- Workplace Gender Equality Agency, Save the date: 8 September is Equal Pay Day, https://www.wgea.gov.au/wgea-newsroom/save-date-8-september-equal-pay-day accessed 31 August 2016.
- Workplace Gender Equality Agency, National gender pay gap rises to 18.2%, https://www.wgea.gov.au/news-and-edia/national-gender-pay-gap-rises-182, accessed 24 November 2014.
- Workplace Gender Equality Agency, About pay equity, https://www.wgea.gov.au/learn/about-pay-equity, accessed 24 November 2014.