A new report released by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) on 7 March 2016 reveals that Australian women are financially disadvantaged at every key stage of their life: in childhood, at the workplace, through pregnancy, motherhood and as a carer, and in retirement.
The ACTU’s Gender Pay Gap – Over the Life Cycle report shows that whether given less pocket money as a child, lower wages as a graduate, a poorer household income in pregnancy and as a mother or much lower savings in retirement, girls and women still face overwhelming inequality and lack of opportunity.
Women make up 42% of the workforce but currently earn 17.2% less than men. Today’s findings provides a three year update of Australian women’s pay and conditions since the ACTU’s original Gender Pay Gap report was published in 2013.
Key report findings:
Young girls receive 11% less pocket money than boys;
Less than one in 20 girls considers a career in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) compared to one in five boys.
Women are earning less on average to men than they were 20 years ago;
Women earn $284.20 less per week than men;
70% of part-time work is undertaken by women;
60% of women are graduates in recent years, however female post-graduates earn 82% of the salary of a male post graduate;
Just 24% of Australian Board Directors and 17 % of Chief Executives are women.
Pregnancy, motherhood and caring:
Women, during their child bearing years ( 25-44) earn up to 40% less than men in the same age group, regardless of whether they have children;
Women spend twice as much time doing unpaid work including caring for children, older people or people with a disability, housework and volunteering in their local community;
Mothers who return to work after 12 months parental leave after the birth of their first child suffer a wage penalty of 7% in their first year. Twelve percent (12%) in the following year; One in three (32%) mothers who are discriminated against look for another job or resign.
The average superannuation balance for women at retirement is $138,150 for women compared with $292,500 for men;
60% of women aged between 65-69 years have no Super at all;
It is estimated that 38.7% of single women will retire in poverty;
Twice the amount of Superannuation tax concessions from government flow to men than women.
Unions are calling for:
A government funded parental leave scheme of 26 weeks paid at no less than the national minimum wage plus superannuation;
Fifteen hours of free childcare for every child per week for all families;
A right to request flexible work arrangements that clearly set out an employer’s obligations to properly consider and make reasonable efforts to accommodate requests.