The Guardian • Issue #2043

Gender pay gap

  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2043

Photo: Anna Pha

While figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showing that Australia’s gender pay gap is narrowing, women still receive, on average, $472 per week less than men.

Despite narrowing the gender pay gap, this will provide little comfort to female workers, who, as the ABS revealed, are experiencing the biggest fall in real wages in history.

The ABS figures revealed that the gender pay gap had narrowed from 14.1 per cent in May 2022 down to 13.3 per cent in November 2022.

This outcome can be attributed in part to a strong decision in last year’s annual wage review which has helped to boost the incomes of award-reliant workers, especially in the private sector, most of whom are women.

Figures from “ABS characteristics of employment” (August 2022) indicate that women who are members of their union take home on average $1,390 per week (median), compared with just over $1,000 for women who were not members of their union, indicating that union membership can play a strong role in lifting wages for women.

“If women are to have justice in their workplaces, governments and industry must continue to make every effort to eliminate the unacceptable pay gap which unfairly disadvantages women and devalues and discourages their participation in the workplace,” said ACTU president Michele O’Neil.

“ABS data also clearly demonstrates that women who are members of their union earn, on average, $390 more per week than women who are not union members. This demonstrates the critical role union membership can play in lifting women’s wages.

“With spiralling inflation driven by corporate greed, rapid interest rate rises driven by an out-of-touch Reserve Bank and over a decade of stagnant wage growth, the fact is that Australian women and their families have little to celebrate.”

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