Aussie gender pay gap increases during COVID pandemic

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, August 31, 2021
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CANBERRA, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- Tuesday marks Equal Pay Day 2021 in Australia, a reminder of the country's gender pay gap which has widened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Based on a current estimate, Australian women, on average, have to work 61 extra days from the end of the previous financial year to earn the same amount of their annual pay as men, according to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), an Australian government statutory agency charged with promoting gender equality in workplaces.

Equal Pay Day is a symbolic event that helps to raise the awareness of the barriers women face in accessing the same financial rewards for their work as men in Australia.

Earlier this month, the WGEA revealed that Australian men who work full-time earn 14.2 percent more on average than women in 2021, a rise of 0.8 percentage points over the last six months.

The difference equates to a gap of 261.5 Australian dollars (190.7 U.S. dollars) per week.

The rise in the national gender pay gap was largely driven by a higher growth in men's full-time wages (1.8 percent increase) than women's (0.9 percent), according to the WGEA.

Mary Wooldridge, director of the WGEA, said the data should serve as a warning to Australians to continue fighting to reduce the gap.

"Equal Pay Day is an ideal opportunity to remind employers around the country that one of the key levers of change is through gender pay audits," she said in a media release.

"Closing the pay gap is about fairness. Our data shows women's average full-time wages are lower than men's across every industry and occupation in Australia," she noted.

Wooldridge also said that a research report has revealed "the sobering reality", which is that, on current trends, it will take 26 years to close the total remuneration gender pay gap.

Recently, the peak domestic violence prevention organization Our Watch voiced concerns that women were being left behind in the coronavirus recovery.

"Tragically, we have seen since the onset of COVID-19 a rise in the incidence and severity of domestic and family violence," Chief Executive Patty Kinnersly was cited by The Canberra Times as saying on Tuesday.

"We need governments to apply a gendered approach to all policies, for example ensuring that economic stimulus packages do not disproportionately benefit male-dominated industries," she said.

Ensuring women "are not left behind in the economic recovery from COVID" will benefit the whole community, she added. Enditem

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