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Equal Pay Day – 2020 IS 28TH AUGUST 

The date marks the additional time from the end of the previous financial year that women must work to earn the same as men had to work.

What is gender equality?

Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.

- United Nations Sustainable Development Goal SDG5

Workplace gender equality is achieved when people are able to access and enjoy the same rewards, resources and opportunities regardless of gender.

- Workplace Gender Equality Agency

What is the gender pay gap?

A gender pay gap (GPG) is the difference between women’s and men’s earnings, expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings.

There are different types of GPGs:

The national GPG

is the difference between women’s and men’s average weekly full-time base salary earnings, expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings. It is a measure of women’s overall position in the paid workforce and does not compare like roles.

Pay gaps within industries

  • 7% gap in public administration and safety;
  • 31% in financial and insurance services;
  • Public < private sectors.

Pay gaps within organisations

  • Like-for-like: are gaps in remuneration between women and men undertaking work of equal or comparable value (ie comparing similar jobs);
  • By-level: are gaps in remuneration between women and men at the same organisational level (eg managers);
  • Organisation wide: is the gap between the average remuneration of women and men across the whole organisation.

WGEA explains the GPG on youtube

What factors influence the Gender Pay Gap?

The GPG cannot be fully explained by a set of measurable variables, but according to WGEA, 2017 these factors influence it:

Discrimination and bias in hiring and pay decisions;
Women and men working in different industries and different jobs, with female-dominated industries and jobs attracting lower wages;
Women’s disproportionate share of unpaid caring and domestic work;
Lack of workplace flexibility to accommodate caring and other responsibilities, especially in senior roles;
Women’s greater time out of the workforce impacting career progression and opportunities.
One measurement is that the GPG is a statistic and behaves like a statistic – Gender Pay Gap Measurement as a statistic.

What is equal pay for work of equal value?

There is a difference between equal pay for equal work and equal pay for work of equal value. Equal pay compares the pay of incumbents in the same or very similar jobs. Pay equity compares the value and pay of different jobs, such as nurse and electrician. Either men or women can complain that their work is undervalued.

What can be done to narrow the gender pay gap?

SDG 8 – Target 8.5: By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value.( )

There were four dramatic policy changes in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s that started the first narrowing of the GPG:

  • Lifting of marriage bars from employment (1966 in the Commonwealth Public Service);
  • The ruling of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in 1969 that women should receive equal pay to men for equal work;
  • The passing of the Sex Discrimination Act in 1984; and
  • The Affirmative Action (Equal Employment Opportunity for Women) Act in 1986.


Close gender pay gap through legislated wage increases skewed towards currently low paid sectors that have a high proportion of female workers.

Towards 2030 recommendation

For the Australian Government and employers to support the UN Women & International Labour Organisation initiative.