Today marks the 101st International Women’s Day but according to the Pay Equity Challenge Coalition there is little good news for women workers.
“The Government has shown by moving the Minister of Women’s Affairs outside of Cabinet that working women’s issues are not a priority,” says spokesperson Angela McLeod.
“To add to that, the briefing to the new Minister doesn’t use the words “gender pay gap” let alone provide effective solutions on how to reduce it.
“According to the Quarterly Employment Survey figures, the gender pay gap for the final quarter last year was 13%, an increase from 12.85% in the September quarter. This is completely unacceptable,” says Mrs McLeod. The gender gap is even bigger in some occupations and in one public service department it reaches a high of 38%”
“Members of the Coalition will be seeking a meeting with the Minister of Women’s Affairs to talk about real solutions to close the pay gap. “We think it’s important to value the work that women do and to pay them fairly.
The Minister needs to understand that pay rates have to rise for women working in low paid occupations. The latest example is the Oceania residential aged care workers currently taking industrial action, who have been offered a pitiful 1% a year pay increase spread over three years. These workers are underpaid and undervalued yet take care of our respected and vulnerable elderly.
“Given that this is 2012 and is the Chinese Year of the Dragon, a year for prosperity, we’d like to see some more prosperity in the direction of the pay packets of these and other low paid working women,” Mrs McLeod adds.
“A Government plan to close the gender pay gap is the news we want to hear”
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