A recent study published by Australian university professors has shown the gender pay gap is affecting productivity in the work place.
By Batool Al Sallakh
Produced for online by Natalie O’Brien
On average women earn nearly 27,000 dollars less per year than men, according to Australia’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency.
Results of the Reducing gender wage inequality increases economic prosperity for all: Insights from Australia study, showed narrowing the gender pay gap lifted productivity and morale for all workers, not just women.
The head of The University of New England’s Business School and report co-author, Professor Alison Sheridan, says the pay gap affects everyone.
“It’s not just about the individual, it’s the positive impact on the wider economy of reducing inequality,” she says.
Professor Sheridan says women struggle to progress in the workplace.
“Where we still see this wage differential occurring is even when we see women moving into those occupations they’re not moving, they’re not rising at the same rate as their male counterparts and hence we continue to see salary differential,” she says.
Professor Sheridan says culture is also a challenge.
“The recognition of women’s work continues to be coloured by a culture in which gender stereotypes continue to prevail,” she says.
Working Women Queensland’s Kerriann Dear says equal pay is affected by women being primary carers.
Women are discriminated against regularly when re-entering the workforce.
“We certainly still know discrimination is really really common for them particularly around returning to work, that’s when their jobs disappear, when they’re made redundant… we’re seeing a lot of disputes with employers about trying to negotiate flexible work arrangement,” she says.
Ms Dear links lack of equality with issues like domestic violence and violence against women.
“When we have a society where women are generally valued less, there is more of a predisposition to seeing women as less than, as inferior, and we know that underpins what the research is telling us, that underpins the phenomena like we see in our society,” she says.
Action Aid Australia says the gender pay gap and women being undervalued is a global problem.
The Executive Director, Michelle Higelin, says governments can do more.
“Particularly as we sort of open up the economic opportunities for women we need to make sure that those opportunities are giving decent work and decent pay for that work, so I think there is more that can be done and it does require a consistent and dedicated focus by the government both in Australia and overseas,” she says.