Nila Sweeney

It’s been 25 years since women hit the streets calling for more equality. Yet, the current wage gap sits as 17.2% meaning women would have to work an extra 63 days to match what men earn!


Your Money Magazine discovered that the glass ceiling remains firmly intact for many Australian women today. But why are women continually handed the wrong end of the stick? And more importantly, what can you about it?


We’d be forgiven for assuming that there’s no such thing as a gender wage gap in a country with a female Prime Minister, Governor-General, Premiers and many big business CEOs calling the shots.


Yet, despite outnumbering men with tertiary education, women aren’t getting a fair go, and there is no good reason. According to findings by Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace (EOWA), historical factors are one of the drivers causing the gender wage gap because traditionally, women’s talents were viewed as socially focused instead of industrially geared.


It’s hard to believe that out-dated ideology can sway the system today, but EOWA’s research confirms that women are indeed, being short-changed:


  • The average 25 year old male will earn approximately $2.4 million over the next 40 years compared to $1.5 million for the average female.
  • This year marks 25 years since the Affirmative Action (Equal Employment Opportunity for Women) Act was passed, but the current wage gap is about the same as it was then.
  • Men with children earn almost double what women with children earn over their lifetime.
  • By 2019, it’s estimated that the average working woman will only have half the super that men will receive in their funds.


So what should you do about it?

Inequality roadblocks should be removed from employers’ blind spots, and this can take a while. In the meantime, working women can ensure their economic security today by speaking up about any inequities in the workplace and keeping abreast of developments in equal opportunity policies reported by EOWA.

Urge your employer to conduct a pay audit, or if you are the business owner, ensure your practices are in line with the guidelines set out by EOWA.

When negotiating a pay rise or promotion, it’s worth mentioning the value of education. Women now represent over 56.2% of university graduates and make up a large proportion of new talent entering the market.

All working women should make additional super contributions and superannuation fund management a priority simply because at the end of the day, “you only get out what you put in.”
For more information on bridging the pay gap, check out the following not-for-profit organisations advocating the rights of women:

EOWA is the national statutory body managing the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999 (Commonwealth).

Economic Security 4 Women (ES4W) is another organisation that working women should become familiar with, as the group lobbies for policy changes that promote fair valuation of women’s contribution in the workplace.

-Nastasha Tupas

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