Australia's Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) found a $266 a week overall difference between what men and women in full-time work earn. Calculations show that takes 64 extra days of work for the average woman to equal what a man earns in a year. In its latest workplace survey figures, WGEA shows that, the gap between what men and women earn is widening in the country, increasing from 15% in 2004 to 17.5% over the last year.
On Tuesday, which marks 'Equal Pay Day' the WGEA release had a telling headline. 'The Cost of being female: 64 extra days at work" was meant to be symbolic reminder of the increasing pay gap.
Accordingly to Dr Carla Harris, Research Executive Manager, who leads the research team at WGEA, the gap is now larger than it was 20 years ago and has been increasing.
"It's actually been steadily increasing since about 2004, from about 15 per cent in 2004 and now we're looking at about 17.5 per cent over the last year," Dr. Harris said in an ABC report.
The survey finds that, the average full time wage for a woman is about 82 cents for every dollar earned by a man in a fulltime job. Over 12 months, the difference works out to be nearly $14,000, and over a working career, unions estimate it at $1 million.
As per agency calculations it takes 64 extra days of work for the average woman to equal what a man earns in a year.
The survey found that the difference applies to women across the education and industry spectrum.
Quoting the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) the Sydney Morning Herald reported that the effect of the gender pay gap over the life cycle estimates that men who hold a university degree and have children can expect to earn around $3.3 million over their working life, nearly double the amount for women in the same category at $1.8 million.
Accordingly to the ACTU report, effect of the pay gap is underscored by gender differences in superannuation. Average superannuation payments for women ($63,412) are 42 per cent less than men's ($109,609).
Meanwhile ABC News, quoting Dr. Harris said new rules being implemented by the government may shed further light on income disparity.
From next year companies with 100 or more employees will have to report wages in terms of gender. They will also have to specify what strategies they propose to implement to address pay disparity.
Dr Harris says the new requirements will shed some light on the issue.
"A lot of the time there's a lot of secrecy around whose being paying what and whose doing what and how there's certain biases that occur within HR and recruitment practices.
"By organisations and businesses having to provide this information it will increase accountability.
Dr. Harris feels it will go a long way in generating change and making progress in this area.
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