Sexism and Gender Discrimination? Australian Women Still Earn Less Than Men

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By Reissa Su | August 22, 2013 3:37 PM EST

According to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, men continue to earn more money than women in the country. Australian men earn an average of 17.53 per cent more than women with a weekly average of $1,518.40. The figure is higher compared to women who have an average of $1,252.20 per week.

The figures were based on the ordinary, full time, average weekly earnings. Average earnings also include bonuses, leave-loading and overtime pay which have been adjusted according to seasonal fluctuations in the jobs market.

The gap between the earnings of Australian men and women is $266.20. This amount was considered to be the highest since 1994 when the Australian Statistics Bureau placed weekly earnings data in digital form.

In 2009, men's earnings were 17.64 per cent higher but still considered higher than the gender pay gap of 14.89 per cent in 2004. Hourly earnings are also included in the calculation of gender pay gap. The Bureau's latest 2012 data showed that Australian men worked more hours than women on average which would increase weekly earnings slightly.

On a global scale, Australia's gender pay gap is slightly better than other countries. The country ranked number 20 with 16.4 per cent based on Bloomberg's compilation of wage gap data in 36 countries. Australia has a smaller gender gap compared to the United States which has 23 per cent.

However, Australia could learn a lot from New Zealand which ranked number 5 with a gender pay gap of 7.8 per cent. Slovenia ranked first place in the worldwide gender pay gap table with only 0.9 per cent.

According to a research report in July by the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Australia has one of the most sexist employment markets in the world with more women who are not promoted as often as men and consistently underpaid.

In occupations dominated by men like drivers and machine operators, women have a weekly average earnings of $850 compared to $1,133 for men. For community service jobs, men earn $275 a week more.

In occupations where women dominate like primary teaching, childcare and nursing, men still earn more with $1,150 compared to $999 for women.

Trade Union president Ged Kearney blamed gender discrimination, low wages and outdated workplace culture, especially for the small number of women who are holding management positions.

Gender pay gap worldwide

RankCountryPay gap
1 Slovenia 0.90%
2 Poland 4.50%
3 Italy 5.30%
4 Malta 7.20%
5 New Zealand 7.80%
6 Luxembourg 8.70%
7 Romania 8.80%
8 Belgium 10.20%
9 Portugal 12.80%
10 Bulgaria 13%
11 Iceland 13.50%
12 Ireland 13.90%
13 Lithuania 14.60%
14 Sweden 15.40%
15 Latvia 15.50%
16 France 15.60%
17 Norway 15.80%
18 Denmark 16%
19 Spain 16.20%
20 Australia 16.40%
21 Cyprus 16.80%
22 Hungary 17.60%
23 Netherlands 17.80%
24 Switzerland 19.10%
25 United Kingdom 19.50%
26 Slovakia 19.60%
27 Canada 19.70%
28 Finland 20.30%
29 Greece 22%
30 Germany 22.30%
31 United States 23%
32 Austria 24%
33 Czech Republic 25.50%
34 Estonia 27.70%
35 Japan 28.30%
36 South Korea 38.90%

Source: Bloomberg and OECD

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