The Wage-Gap: A social injustice

Written by Molly Lancett

Note: This is the second post in a series I am writing about inequality, the issues women/non-binary individuals face, and will act as an informative tool for people who may not be educated on the struggles we face. Starting with feminism and its importance (check out my previous post to read), to the gender wage-gap, all the way to the prevalence of sexual assault against women.

The gender wage-gap is described as the difference between what men and women earn when within the same, or extremely similar roles. It's safe to say it's assumed knowledge that women get paid substantially less than their male counterparts and it's difficult to explain why this issue is occurring since there have been such vast improvements and changes to achieve gender equality, but yet this issue remains unchanged. You may think this issue surely does not occur within our own country, if this is where your train of thought took you, you are beyond incorrect. This is an issue not only occurring globally, but within our very own country to notable amounts.

Australian legislation is supposed to protect individuals from being discriminated on the basis of sex. If legislation supposedly prohibits this from occurring, why is it that in every occupational category, there is a gender wage-gap favouring full-time working men over full-time working women? And why is it that women earn 87 cents for every dollar a man makes? In 2018–19 alone, it was estimated there was a wage-gap of 16% to 22% globally, and 13% within Australia. On the more shocking end of the spectrum, Pakistan sits at a whopping 62.5% gap, and the UK is sitting at 35.2%. As if this isn’t enough, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is shown that there are vast differences in weekly earnings between men and women within the same career. Just to name two, male financial supervisors earn $1,662 a week, compared to females who earn just $979 a week and real estate agents, where men earn $1,159 compared to the female earnings of $818 a week. Although these numbers are startling, the wage-gap is typically attributed to simply more than women making less than men. Maternity leave, being part-time or full-time and ultimately which career path is chosen by the individual affect the statistics slightly, and this may be an argument you hear from individuals who deny the existence of the wage-gap. Although these are contributing factors, they are nowhere near as comparable as the main issue at hand. Sexism.

There is preferential recruitment of men, even when the women holds the same qualifications and skills. In fact, a new type of hiring has been on trial and is occurring today. It is known as blind recruitment, which is the process of removing any information that might identify candidates gender in their application, so that the appliers suitability for the role can be judged with no bias or personal opinions. Within employers there is either a conscious or subconscious sexist approach when it comes to hiring, showing a strong bias towards male applicants. The issue of misogynistic attitudes such as "women can't do jobs as good as men" have been around for centuries, and it's time for this attitude to be wiped. If Australian legislation prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, so should employers.