Friday, June 29, 2001
Australian women still
not getting equal pay in workforce
A story released today by the Australian General News reports that fifty years after the
campaign for equal pay began, Australian women are still losing ground, statistics showed.
The latest report from the Australian Taxation Office showed that the average
annual income of Australian men was $34,460, 46 percent higher than the $23,599 the
average Australian woman earned each year.
"Australian women on average earn $166 a week less than men and the situation is
getting worse," said Sharan Burrow, president of Australian Council of Trade Unions.
"Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that the gap between male and female
average weekly pay packets stretched from $158.40 in May 1998 to $166.10 in May
2000," Ms Burrow said.
"In general women workers continue to earn only two-thirds as much as men."
The figures showed 72 per cent of female workers in the retail industry earned less than
$600 a week, compared to 51 per cent of men.
In education, health and community services, 62 per cent of women earned less than $800
compared to 45 per cent of men, while 70 per cent of women working in finance earned less
than $700 compared to 42 per cent of men.
"It is discriminatory and unacceptable that in 2001 women do not receive pay
equity," Ms Burrow said.
"Along with cuts to child care, education, health and the GST, women are under extra
Exclusion of women from informal channels of communication, lack of child care facilities,
doubts about the long-term commitment of women, lack of maternity and paternity leave and conflict of needs between
work and family were cited as reasons for the pay inequity.
ACTU own research found that in some cases promotion was based on length of service,
particularly continuous service and the misguided view by some managements that women do
not seek a career, only a job.