Equal Pay Day was 31 August in 2018 so it has moved 3 days in the right direction – this year women must work an additional 59 days from the end of the last financial year to earn the same amount as men. At this rate, who knows, we could have pay equity in just 20 years!
Equal Pay Day is a symbolic indicator of the significance of the national gender pay gap and why it matters for Australian women. It highlights the barriers Australian women still face in having the same opportunities and rewards in our workplaces as men.
The Workplace Gender Equality Agency has calculated the national gender pay gap as 14.0% for full-time employees, a difference of $241.50 per week: a fall of 0.6%. Women’s weekly earnings on average are $1,484.80 compared to men’s weekly average earnings of $1,726.30, based on ABS data.
Libby Lyons, Workplace Gender Equality Agency Director, said she would have liked to see a stronger fall in the gender pay gap: “What Equal Pay Day actually signifies is that every other day of the year is Unequal Pay Day for women. Australian women first won the right to be paid the same as men for doing the same work or work of equal or comparable value in 1969 – that’s 50 years ago!”
[Un]Equal Pay Day is not about two people being paid differently for the same work, it is about the national gender pay gap. The gender pay gap refers to the difference between women’s and men’s average weekly full-time base salary earnings, expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings. It is a measure of women’s overall positions in the paid workforce and does not compare like roles.