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Women falling behind as gender pay gap widens

Media Release
Larissa Waters 19 Aug 2021

The Greens have renewed their calls for action on closing the gender pay gap after the Workplace Gender Equality Agency today revealed that the earnings gulf between men and women had widened over the last six months from 13.4% to 14.2%.

This means Equal Pay Day will this year fall on 31 August, marking the 61 extra days from the end of the financial year that women must work to earn the same annual pay as men.

Greens deputy leader and spokesperson on women Senator Larissa Waters said:
“This latest report from the WGEA shows that women take home $261.50 less per week than men, which means they’d need to work an additional two months to earn the same annual pay. On current trends, it will take 26 years to close the gender pay gap.

“Women have been doing the heavy lifting during the pandemic and what’s their reward? To fall further behind men. It’s unfair and unjust, but it's entirely avoidable. 

“The gender pay gap is driven by factors like workplace discrimination, lower wages in female-dominated industries, lack of workplace flexibility, the cost and availability of childcare, and impact of taking time out for caring work. These are all things that can and must be changed. 

“The Greens have long called for urgent, targeted action to address the gender inequalities, including banning ‘pay gag clauses’ that disguise the gender pay gap, stronger sanctions against companies who fail to address their pay gap, and higher wages in female-dominated industries.

“We also need to ensure that we have more family-friendly workplaces, flexible leave entitlements to encourage shared care and affordable child care.

“We need reforms to the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 to provide positive duties on employers to stamp out discrimination, which we’ll be pushing for when the Respect at Work Bill is debated this week.

“And we need action to improve superannuation for casual, part-time and low income workers and pay superannuation on parental leave to address the income gap facing so many Australian women in retirement.”

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