A newly released study of wages in Australia has found that women are continuing to earn less than men despite formal pay equality.
The gender equality scorecard released today by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) shows that the average base pay for women in medium and large companies is 19.9% lower for women than men, while total remuneration is 24.7% lower.
The largest gender gaps for base and total remuneration are in the finance and insurance sector, with gaps of 28.4% and 36.1% respectively.
Part of the problem, according to the report, is the relative lack absence of women from management positions, especially at higher levels.
Women comprised only 27.8% of executive and general manager roles in Australia, and at the top management level, chief executive, women held 17.3 per cent of positions.
But unions have also pointed to lack of workplace flexibility, pressure for longer working hours and the difficulty of finding affordable childcare as underlying issues affecting women’s earning power at all levels of the workforce.
The ACTU has called on the federal government to increase funding for childcare and to support the improvement of wages and conditions of childcare workers as major steps in improving women’s workforce participation opportunities.
It has also called for Gender Equality reporting and training requirements to be strengthened.