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Gender pay gap widens in lead-up to Equal Pay Day

GET WITH IT: Business Professional Women Caboolture president Astrid Kuenne, Kimberley James, Rebecca Parry and Kellie Grunberger take a stand for equal pay rights.
GET WITH IT: Business Professional Women Caboolture president Astrid Kuenne, Kimberley James, Rebecca Parry and Kellie Grunberger take a stand for equal pay rights. Patrick Woods

CABOOLTURE'S working women are calling for action on equal pay as the latest data shows the average woman in full-time work in Queensland earns $462 less a week than the average man - almost $100 more than it was two years earlier.

That leaves the average woman earning 73c for every dollar the average man makes.

Business Professional Women Caboolture president Astrid Kuenne called on workplaces to promote diversity and allow more flexibility for women returning from maternity leave.

"If the workplaces promoted diversity, there would be more women in the workforce," she said.

"They need to have greater flexibility in work environments to do with maternity leave and study leave."

She said it was important that promotions and salaries were determined by merit, not gender.

The figures come as BPW groups across the country prepare to acknowledge Equal Pay Day on September 5.

In a newsletter, BPW director of policy Andrea Cross said discrimination based on gender was a major reason for the pay gap.

She particularly highlighted the difference in pay between female-dominated industries such as childcare and the male-dominated worlds of construction and mining.

"Does a female child care worker working with the next generation of lawyers, doctors, school teachers, perform work of a lesser value than a male construction worker," she asked.

"Is the work less demanding, require less education?

"No, but that is the way society has valued the work that women in large numbers perform, and today we argue for equitable pay based on the value of work, not the sex of the people performing it.

"Men work in industries that have been historically more highly valued - not because their work is of a more highly-skilled nature, just that it was assessed at some point in the past as being 'worth' more because it was done by men."

According to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, the pay gap in Queensland and Western Australia is much larger than nationally, where the average women working full-time earns $283.20 less a week than the average man.

BPW Caboolture is acknowledging Equal Pay Day at its next monthly breakfast with an interactive presentation. The breakfast is on Friday September 5, at 6.30am at Centenary Lakes Function Centre. Book at www.bpwcaboolture.com.au.

Topics:  equal pay, gender equality, gender pay gap


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