Madie’s Top 5 Takes on … the Gender Pay Gap

Our Creative Residents share their thoughts in response to International Women’s Day 2024.

Words by Madieson (she/her), 24 WA

As we approach International Women’s Day (IWD), I’d like to reflect on all the things that I am grateful for and how being a woman has shaped this. But even as I sit and take my moments of gratitude, I am still able to recognise the discrimination and disadvantages that women face (including myself).

The gender pay gap is essentially the disparity that exists between the average money women and men earn, with it being estimated that for women earn 87c (in Australia) every dollar a man earns, meaning that the pay gap is 12%.

The Gender Pay Gap is an issue that significantly and negatively disadvantages women, that still needs considerable work to resolve. Here are my Hot Takes for how we can work to make the gender pay gap smaller, from both a cultural and financial perspective.

Pay female dominated industries better.

Do you ever wonder why nurses and teachers are always striking? As someone who works in the teaching industry, I don’t.

Whenever I have a discussion around the gender pay gap, this is the first point I bring to the table. Industries such as teaching, childcare and nursing tend to be dominated by women, yet they are some of the lowest paid.

The hours of work and effort that are put in by a teacher are not subsidised by the pay they receive. These industries deserve the recognition and monetary support for all the work and effort they put in. Let’s stop feeding money into industries that are already well supported and start valuing and appreciating these industries for what they do!

Encourage more pay transparency.

One time, my partner came home from work, and he had just received a bonus. He said to me that his boss had given him a bonus but that he was not allowed to discuss this with his . Anytime an employer says, “You cannot discuss this with anyone else,” alarm bells ring in my head. This indicates that something fishy might be going on regarding how people are being paid, and if there is equality in the way people are being paid.

It is great to see that they are bringing in laws around pay transparency. However, there is still a LOOONGG way to go. I want to encourage more discussion around pay rates between colleagues, as well as creating safe spaces for people during the hiring and probation period to ask questions about pay rates, with no repercussions on their potential future at the company.

Let’s recognise the additional duties that women take on and support them!

Women often take on additional duties at home, whether this be caring for elderly family or are raising young children. When it comes to these scenarios the best way to support them is to provide more carers leave, so that women can take these days off to support their family without losing their pay.

I am not saying that only women take on these duties, but that they are more often taken on by women, and they deserved to be recognised. We need to acknowledge the impact that this can have on women and their career trajectory, and ultimately reduce the impact that traditional gender roles can have on pay differences.

Another way to support young mothers would be to have resources available to them in the workplace such as creche’s, extended breaks, rooms for breast pumping and flexible working arrangements for the first few months of a young child’s life.

Create workplace environments that support women.

you ever wonder why there is such a small number of women CEOs or highly ranked staff? This is something that often rolls around in my brain and highlights how the workplace environment is more so made for men rather than women.

For some companies, it’s as if they are still stuck in the 1960’s when they had few women in the office. They often don’t have the supports in place for women, not providing women with the opportunity to upskill to get these higher paid roles. If we can provide women with more opportunities, such as educational workshops, leadership development programs and mentorships, to support them to aim for higher ranking positions, we can help reduce the pay gap that exists due to women not being in high-ranking positions. Additionally offering flexible working arrangements to support those with caregiving responsibilities.

What’s even more worrying is the implicit and, concerningly, explicit discrimination that still exists within a lot of large corporations which continues to amplify and support the voices of men, while devaluing and ignoring the voices of women. Another way to support women in the workplace is to have clear and concise policies and procedures for reporting harassment.

To put it simply – pay women the same as their male counterparts.

I think the real root of this conversation centers around ensuring that male and female workers who are completing the same job hours and are under the same job title are paid equally.

As much as the gender pay gap exists due to workplace environments not supporting women, and women dominated industries not being highly paid, the real reason that the gender pay gap continues to exist is that there are still workplaces that don’t recognise or value the work that women do the same way they recognise and value the work of men with many companies still not paying male and female counterparts equally.

I recently read an article that compared men and women who work at the same level, have the same job title and work the same hours, yet, a pay gap of 11% exists. This means that for every dollar a man is earning a woman is earning 87c, even though they are completing the same .

To create a future that supports women, we can begin with enforcing equal pay practices. With a focus on both legal and cultural changes, we can make the changes to support an equitable work environment.

 

Illustration by Aileen. You can find more of her work on Instagram @aileenngstudio

Posted in