Gender pay gaps increase Down Under

Equal pay for men and women remains
a pipe dream in Australia with a report showing the pay gap between the sexes
is wider now than 30 years ago.

The report by KPMG, commissioned by
the non-profit group Diversity Council Australia, found Australian women earn
nearly 18 per cent less than their male counterparts.

The gap has widened in the past
three decades as in 1977 women were earning on average 88 per cent of the
salaries of their male counterparts compared to 82 per cent in 2010.

“It is a surprising result
when you consider equal pay actually became a reality in Australia in
1972,” acting research director of Diversity Council Australia, Lisa Annese,
told Reuters.

Over the past year the average pay
gap between men and women workers grew by $7.90 per week to $239.30 a week from
$231.40.

This means that women would have to
work three days longer in 2010 compared to 2009 to reach an equal pay packet.

The report also found women made up
only seven per cent of executives in companies listed on the Australia stock
exchange’s ASX 200 index even though women account for 42 per cent of the total
workforce and make up the majority, or 70 percent, of Australia’s part-time
workforce.

Ms Annese said Australia had, of
course, seen substantial improvements in the labour market conditions for women
in the past century but the recent lack of progress was disappointing.

“We haven’t gone backwards, we
just haven’t moved forwards,” Ms Annese said.

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The pay gap between the sexes in Australia is wider now than 30 years ago.
Photo: File
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