Sunk without a trace

It was Equal Pay Day a few days ago. It sunk without a trace. Which given the state of the world, is possibly understandable, albeit disappointing.

Because we are going backwards.

Back five years in fact.

The Stats

This article has some disturbing stats:

  • Women are working an additional 61 days to be paid the same as men.
  • Australian women are back to earning $261.50 less a week than men on average, taking us back to 2017.
  • The five-year setback in the average weekly full-time earnings of men and women has been affected by the volatile and gendered paid and unpaid work impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The gender pay gap, which is calculated by looking at the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics data on average weekly earnings between men and women, increased to 14.2% in May, from 13.4% in November 2020.
  • This is the biggest percentage gain since 2014, and in dollar terms, the financial gender gap, its the worst it’s been since 2016 when men earned $261.60 more than women.
  • According to the ABS, men earn $1,837 per week on average across all industries compared to $1,575 earned by women.
  • And this .. The best paying sectors have the worst gender pay gap.

The Comments

Possibly more depressing than the stats were the comments on the odd article I did happen across.

“The gender pay gap has been debunked by world class economists.”

“That’s because of the choices that women themselves make.”

“They’re just not as suitable for the high paying jobs as men.”

“Women don’t work as hard or put in the hours to get paid the same amount.”

“Why are we still talking about this?”

And then multiple comments on how wanting equal pay somehow equates to radical feminism, stopping men from seeing their children, male suicide and all sorts of other unrelated issues.

If we can’t even agree that this is an issue. And an important one at that, how will we ever get to addressing the issue?

What can we do?

This is taken from the Finance article, and has some great advice:

Financy recently asked Dr Jill Gould from UniSA Online and UniSA Centre for Workplace Excellence and Professor Carol Kulik also from UniSA Centre for Workplace Excellence for their tips on what women can do to try and change and challenge the gender pay gap in their workplace and industry. Here’s what they said:

Get Digging on Gender Pay

What does the organisation’s executive group look like? What about the board? Is there female representation at these senior levels? We know that organisations with gender diversity on their boards have smaller pay gaps than male dominated boards. And having a woman on the compensation committee narrows the gap too.

Do some benchmarking

The gender pay gap varies across location, industry, sector age and occupation. You can check these variables in the WGEA site, or more broadly in the Financy Women’s Index quarterly reports, to see if you’re likely to have a gender pay gap in your organisation. If you have a good relationship with your HR manager, ask them if new graduates are paid equally. As mentioned previously, the gender pay gap begins at the first stages of the career ladder.

Talk to your HR department

Ask your HR manager if the organisation has conducted a pay audit. There is less than a 50% chance that your organisation has conducted a pay audit to identify any wage gaps. To get started, organisations can use a gender pay gap calculator provided on the WGEA website. The WGEA also provides a wide range of fact sheets and guides to help organisations address pay inequity.

Report your results to those who can effect change

Only 26.7% of organisations report results from pay gap analyses to senior management. Why not ask if senior management have been advised about pay audit analyses undertaken within the organisation? If you’re in a senior role yourself, ask for information on gender and pay.

In summary

But probably the most important thing we can do is actually accept it’s real, it is an issue, and make a decision about what we as individuals, as leaders and as organisations are going to do so that the comments following next year’s posts reflect some change.

Be the change you want to see and all that.

See you next year.

The Takeaway

Honestly.. The takeaway from this has to be that unless we take this seriously as an issue, things aren’t ever going to change. That means examining a whole lot of uncomfortable biases and dismantling a whole lot of structures that has served many people well for many years..

More Reading..

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