No-one should be made to work for free – and no-one should be paid less than someone else for the same work.
Yet, this is something we ask of millions of Australians. Every single day we expect skilled and hardworking people to accept less in their weekly pay packet.
We don’t directly ask them to make this sacrifice. It’s just accepted.
We accept that when they’re young, they’ll get less pocket money than other children. We accept that throughout their working lives they will get less pay.
We accept that when they retire, they’ll have to live on a little more than half the superannuation of other retirees – and that when they are over 50, they will make up the fastest growing group of homeless people.
And is it because they are inexperienced, unqualified or lazy? No.
These working people are expected to accept less simply because they are women.
Today is Equal Pay Day. It marks the period of extra days in the current financial year that women would need to work to get the same wages as men.
Today, that figure is 70 days, based on the national gender pay gap of 16.2 per cent for full-time workers, as calculated by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.
A pay gap based on gender sends a strong message that treating women differently is OK.
Ending the wages gap is one of the many steps towards building a culture of respect towards women that will help build a society of equality and bring down the rates of violence against them.
The Andrews Labor Government is leading by example by:
- Developing Victoria’s first ever Gender Equality Strategy as part of our response to the Royal Commission into Family Violence, which found that bad attitudes towards women end in bad outcomes for women
- Making sure no less than 50 per cent of all future appointments to paid government boards are women. Currently, that figure is 53.8 per cent
- Making sure all public sector enterprise agreements include family violence leave provisions
- Including respectful relationships lessons in our schools so children learn what constitutes a healthy relationship
- Work done by the Minister for Industrial Relations Natalie Hutchins to put gender equality at the centre of our workplace reforms, including a minimum standard of gender neutral paid parental leave, new policies that have gender equality as a key principle and an increase in fully flexible positions.
- Reviewing long service leave to ensure fairnessfor women and those with parental responsibilities.
We’re playing our part to work towards gender equality, but we know there is much more to do. Because equality is not negotiable.
Reviewed 19 August 2020