Home Management Matters Equal pay for women? Not likely, Australians say

Equal pay for women? Not likely, Australians say

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A new study shows Australians are largely pessimistic about the likelihood of women receiving equal pay to men, though most Australians firmly believe in the idea.

And a majority of Australians still cling to the notion that “equal pay” refers to doing the same job rather than work of equal value.

On a brighter note, most Australians believe steps should be taken to close the pay gap between men and women.

The findings were contained in research conducted for Diversity Council Australia and the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace agency.

Four in five Australians believe the average weekly earnings of women working full-time are less than what men working full-time are earning.

“The fact is that the gap between male and female average full-time weekly earnings does exist and is currently almost 18 percent,“ said Lisa Annese, acting director of research at Diversity Council Australia.

Annese said the findings showed the importance of continuing the national debate about pay equity and what it really means.

“The findings show that around two thirds (64 percent) of Australians wrongly think that pay equity means equal pay for men and women who are doing the same job. Just 14 percent of people agreed with the correct idea that pay equity means equal pay for men and women doing different but equivalent jobs.

“We need to be focusing our efforts on achieving pay equity for women who are doing work of equal value to men, not necessarily the exact same job,” Annese said.

The long and winding road for women hoping for pay equity is reflected in the finding that men are less likely to think there is a pay gap.  Men are more likely to say that women earn the same as men (23 per cent compared with 9 percent of women).

Just over three quarters (76 percent) of those surveyed said steps should be taken to close the pay gap between men and women.

“Pay inequity is a community problem,” said Mairi Steele, EOWA acting director, “and the more people who understand its causes and the financial consequences for business, for women and for their families, the more chance we have of eliminating it.”

Image by Stuart Pilbrow

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