Published: 29 August 2018

Women earn on average $253 a week less than men, which negatively impacts their financial and social well-being, says a Tasmanian MP.

Murchison MLC Ruth Forrest successfully moved a motion on Tuesday that the Legislative Council note the gender pay gap was a major impediment to equality.

Ms Forrest said the Commonwealth Workplace Gender Equity Agency calculated the national pay gap as being 15.3 per cent which means that for every $1 a male receives, a female receives 85 cents.

“There is a gender pay gap favouring men in every industry and occupational level, regardless of whether they are male or female-dominated,” she said.

“As soon as women graduate they earn less than men in 17 out of 19 fields of study and across nine out of 13 industries.

“What is also perplexing is the fact that there is also a gender pay gap favouring men in health services, which has a 72.7 per cent female workforce and a pay gap in favour of men at 9.1 per cent.”

Ms Forrest said the gender pay gap was discriminatory and resulted in ongoing disadvantage to women everywhere throughout much of their lives.

“I believe this is a very important matter to raise in our parliament, particularly as some members have indicated in past debates a lack of acceptance or perhaps full appreciation of the reality and the extent of the gender pay gap,” she said.

“Private enterprise and governments around the country and world are aware of this very real issue and many are taking action. However, the gender pay gap remains a significant issue, is discriminatory and results in ongoing disadvantage to women throughout Tasmania, Australia and the world.”

Ms Forrest said the gender pay gap was lowest in South Australia at 10.3 per cent and highest in Western Australia at 22.5 per cent. Tasmania’s gender pay gap was 10.9 per cent.

She said inequity impacted women throughout their lives.

“In 2015-16, average superannuation balances for women aged 60-64 years were just over half (58 per cent) those of men. Men have an average super payout of $270,710 whilst the average super payout for women is $157,050 a difference of $113,660 less,” Ms Forrest said.

“There has been progress but the gender pay gap remains, it is very real and has a lasting negative impact on women from when they commence employment to well beyond retirement.”


The Advocate August 28, 2018

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