The gender pay gap has become a political issue in Australia and is expected to be at the heart of next year’s federal election.
But is it a legitimate cause for concern?
In a report published on Wednesday, Al Jazeera’s Shauna Flanders looks at the issues surrounding pay and gender in Australia.
What we know about pay gaps in Australia article The gap between men and women in the workplace has grown over the past decade.
The most recent annual report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that women earn on average 78 cents on the dollar compared to men, and that women make 78% of what men make.
In 2013, there were 1.7 million women in full-time employment in Australia, while there were 890,000 men.
A report from The Fawcett Society says that the pay gap is also partly because women don’t tend to work as hard as men do.
“Women are less likely to enter the workforce, and they are less able to raise their own children,” the report says.
“The number of women in higher education and higher education jobs is growing rapidly and the pay differential is also increasing.”
But the report also points out that women still make 78 cents for every dollar that men make, and it’s hard to blame women for wanting to make ends meet.
“Even though the gender paygap is widening, women are still working less than men in many of the industries that have been hit hardest by the economic downturn,” the Fawcetts report says, and “there are still barriers that keep women from achieving the same opportunities as men.”
Women do earn less than their male colleagues In a paper published last month, the Australian Institute of Family Studies found that the gender wage gap is the biggest of any wage gap in Australia for the first time.
The authors of the study say that while women have always made less than those men in their industry, the gender gap is now wider than it was in 2006.
The gap in pay has widened for all sectors of the economy in Australia over the last 10 years, the report said, with a big chunk of that rise coming in the last five years.
Women also earn less in some areas of the workplace than men, the authors found.
“A lot of these things are down to the fact that women have tended to be more educated and less educated in the same sectors and these women tend to have lower levels of qualifications,” one of the authors, Dr Jennifer Lee, said.
“If you look at the pay gaps across different sectors of society, it’s really clear that the wage gap for women in particular has widened.”
Dr Lee says the pay inequality problem has been around for decades, but the report’s authors argue that there are significant changes that need to be made to the way companies pay their employees.
“It’s just a problem that we’re just starting to tackle,” Lee said.
What the report found shows that the overall gender pay wage gap has not been shrinking, but is growing.
The Fawcs report said that the gap in wage was “growing by more than 25% in all occupations over the 10 years to 2012, and by more then 15% in higher educational institutions and higher educational jobs”.
The researchers also found that in the private sector, the wage differential between men AND women was the biggest in the country.
The report also found women earned 77% more than men.
Women earn 77 cents for each dollar men earn, according to the Fawcs study.
However, the Fawces report also pointed out that the average woman earns around 80% of the average man’s salary, which is also well above the pay differences found across most other occupations.
“This suggests that the gaps in pay are actually larger in higher paid occupations than in the less well paid,” Lee told Al Jazeera.
What to do about the pay problem Women in some industries are often paid more than their female colleagues, according a study published in December last year by the Australian Federal University.
It found that women’s pay was consistently higher than men’s across many sectors, and was the lowest in higher skilled industries.
The researchers analysed data from the ABS and the Australian Taxation Office.
They found that while overall, women earned more than males in higher paying industries, the gap was much greater in some occupations.
The study found that men earned a salary of $68,000 on average, while women earned $60,000.
Women earned a median salary of just over $72,000, while men earned just over 80% more.
Women in higher earning occupations were also more likely to be paid less than male counterparts.
According to the study, women in those jobs are also more often under-represented in the senior leadership of the organisation.
“Overall, women tend not to be represented in higher managerial roles,” the authors said, “where the senior executive, chief executive or vice-president tend to be women.”
The study also said that there was a pay gap between women and men in the manufacturing industry.
The average female executive made $58,000 and the