This year’s Equal Pay Day is the earliest its been in 20 years.
Today marks 62 days since the beginning of the new financial year – the number of extra days it takes women to earn the same as their male counterparts.
62 days. That’s two extra months.
So uh, men could’ve just taken the last couple of months off. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Australia’s gender pay gap has hit a 20-year low of 14.6 per cent, or a difference of $244.80 per week.
Australian Taxation Office statistics show men out-earn women in more than 1000 occupations, including many of the highest paying industries.
The biggest pay gaps were in medicine, particularly for ear, nose and throat and eye specialists. Men’s taxable incomes averaged more than $300,000 in these jobs.
Orthopaedic surgeons, dermatologists, plastic and reconstructive surgeons, neurosurgeons, cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons all had a pay gap of more than $200,000.
By comparison, women earn more than men in just 80 occupations. And some of them are pretty niche.
The six women who listed their occupation as state governors (which includes Aboriginal Community Council members and Aboriginal Land Councillors) earned more than than 19 men in the same occupation.
Female gymnasts, surfers, goat farmers and master fishers (what?) also earned more than their male counterparts.
Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) Director Libby Lyons told Mamamia while the lowered pay gap means we’re making progress, work is still required.
In 2017 WGEA warned that without significant changes, we’ll still be waiting another 50 years for equal pay.
"The pay gap will not close on its own. Employers have to take action on addressing pay equity," Libby said.
"All employers need to ensure they are taking active steps to measure and close the pay gaps in their workplaces. Do a pay gap analysis. Report the results to the executive and board. Pay gaps close when leaders see the numbers. If every employer did this, the pay gap would be history."
Libby said the gender pay gap is a symptom of a broader problem of gender inequality where women bear the brunt of unpaid care and domestic work. For every hour of unpaid domestic work a man does, a woman does one hour and 46 minutes. Sigh.
"Women are more likely to earn less, work part-time and take time out of the paid workforce to care for others. Their work is undervalued and it prevents them from reaching their full potential."
Because of this, women are also under-represented in senior executive and management roles and are less likely to be earning the highest paying salaries.
It's all pretty depressing, isn't it? But Libby is wonderful and kind and good, so she has offered us something we desperately need: HOPE.
"We can remedy this situation," she assured us. But we need some help from our bosses, and of course, men.
"Introducing flexible working arrangements and shared care parental leave policies that encourage caring responsibilities to be shared more equitably between women and men can help to remove a barrier to women’s full participation in the workforce."
And that brings us to the whole point of Equal Pay Day. It's not a celebration (though it does make us want a drink or five), it's about awareness.
"Equal Pay Day is a symbolic day that helps to raise awareness of the barriers women face in accessing equivalent pay packets to men for their work," Libby said.
"It also offers an opportunity to urge employers to address gender pay gaps in their organisation and support women’s participation in the workforce."