The oldest continuous regional trades and labour council in Australia is stunned by data that states women in the Hunter are paid 40% less than men.
And, Hunter Workers, which represents 64,000 union members throughout the valley, believes the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) findings highlight the urgent need for Labor’s workplace relations bill, which was announced this week.
The government’s proposal will also include measures to target the pay gap.
According to WGEA’s latest research, the region’s female workforce is paid up to $60,000 a year less, on average, to men.
The organisation revealed the main driver for the wide disparity was the concentration of males in high paying industries like mining and manufacturing, and the concentration of women in lower paying industries like healthcare and social assistance.
“This study sheds light on the need to understand and alleviate challenges that prevent females from accessing high paying occupations,” Hunter Workers Women’s Committee chair Leanne Holmes said.
“It also highlights the need for care sector role renumeration to accurately reflect the true value of feminised work.
“But, the shocking results of the WGEA report are evidence that we have a long way to go until achieving gender pay equality in Australia.
“Though the data explains why women are being paid less, it does not justify it.
“We need to better support the aspirations of those who wish to enter high paying, male-dominated industries.
“It is imperative we undergo policy change, too, that will allow these industries to be safer for women, given that female workers experience higher levels of gender-based violence and discrimination in these sectors.
“Hunter Workers welcomes Labor’s industrial relations bill and its well-needed updates to workplace laws that will progress equity and equality.”
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