Not that you need one, but here’s another reason to hate COVID-19.
Australia’s national gender pay gap has widened during the past six months of the pandemic – up 0.8 percentage points to 14.2 per cent. That means women working full time are now taking home $261.50 a week less on average than their male counterparts.
This disturbing news comes from Australia’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), which has declared today – August 31 – to be “Equal Pay Day 2021”.
Watch: Men vs women negotiating their salary. Post continues below.
Today marks the 61 extra days women have to work from the end of the financial year to achieve the same average annual pay as men. Put simply, women would have to work 14 months of the year to earn the same as men.
You’re probably not surprised, but you are right to be angry. After all, we’ve been working to close the gap for decades, and while it’s lower than its peak, this is still a backwards step that we can’t afford.
At the current pace, it will take 26 years to close the total remuneration gender pay gap.
Equal Pay Day is a symbolic reminder of all the structural and cultural drivers that work against women’s equality, including outright discrimination, as well as factors relating to family and care (including interruptions in paid work, part-time employment and unpaid care and work) and industrial and occupational segregation.
Australians value fairness, but our board rooms and decision-makers still don’t adequately reflect the make-up of our communities.
Not only do women often encounter bias that makes it harder to get to the top, even when they make it, the pay gap persists for women in leadership roles – in fact, it’s even greater.
Increasing diversity in leadership can drive positive change within an organisation. Evidence shows that having more women in top positions has trickle down effects for the whole organisation – and bringing more women into the room can improve behaviours in male-dominated workplaces.
Although we know that increasing workplace diversity benefits everyone, there’s a lack of data on pay gaps for Aboriginal women, other women of colour, LGBTQI, and others who are more likely to be discriminated against because of their identity as well as their gender.