Equal Pay Day: Eowa Says Business Must Get Behind The Gap

< BACK TO WOMEN starstarstarstarstar   People - Women Press Release
31st August 2009, 02:36pm - Views: 934

People Employment EOWA 1 image

media release

Embargoed: 1.00am (AEST) 1 September 2009

For more information contact

Nicole Parsons 0412 505 854 or

Amber Fitzpatrick 0413 444 462

Equal Pay Day: EOWA says business must get behind the gap

The gender pay gap has reached its highest level since the mid 1990s and the Equal Opportunity

for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA) is using Equal Pay Day to call on Australian

businesses to investigate pay inequity in their workplaces. 

Equal Pay Day illustrates the number of extra days that women have to work after the end of the

financial year to earn the same as men, because women - on average - earn more than 17% less

than men. The widening gap means that Equal Pay Day has moved to 1 September¹, five days

later than it was in 2008 when it was marked for the first time. It will now take women an extra 63

days to earn the same as men earned over a year.

The EOWA Survey released last week showed that less than half of all organisations reporting to

EOWA conduct a gender pay equity analysis despite the fact that 96% of the business community

believe that action must be taken to close the gap between men and women’s earnings²

Today EOWA is launching a comprehensive online resource for business which includes a new

pay equity audit tool. This is designed to help businesses identify, understand and address gender

pay gaps in their organisations.

According to Mairi Steele, Acting EOWA Director, “Employers can play a significant role in

reducing gender pay inequity by looking at their pay rates, policies and practices with a critical


“EOWA would like Australian businesses to commit to undertaking gender pay audits to help bring

Equal Pay Day back into August next year.” 

The undervaluation of women’s work continues to be a contributing factor to the gap.  Many

women work in what are commonly regarded as lower value and lower paid jobs. Women often

need to work in jobs that provide flexibility as they are more likely to combine work with caring for

family, and part-time work is more readily available in lower paying occupations and positions,

such as in retail. 

“The fact that women are concentrated in certain occupations and in low paying positions are key

causes of the gap and not excuses for it” Mairi Steele said.

“Even after you allow for differences in qualifications, length of service and full-time or part-time

hours, there is an unexplained gap in earnings. Why are women paid less the moment they step

into the workforce?”

Gradstats figures show that female graduates on average earn $2,000 less per annum than male

graduates when they first start working and the 2008 Graduate Pathways Survey estimated males

earn around $7,800 per year more than females in their fifth year after graduation.



ABS, cat no 6302.0, Average Weekly Earnings, Australia, February 2009


2008 Auspoll Survey on Australian’s Attitudes to Pay Equity, available on the EOWA website

People Employment EOWA 2 image

For more information contact

Nicole Parsons on 0412 505 854 or Amber Fitzpatrick on 0413 444 462

Macquarie University researcher, Ian Watson, recently estimated that as much as 70% of the

unexplained part of the gender pay gap is due to discrimination.

The long term effects are of great concern to women, men and the wider community. A NATSEM

report recently estimated that women can expect to earn nearly $1 million less over their lifetime

than men.  Women are two and half times more likely to live in poverty in their old age, and by

2019, on average, they will have half the amount of superannuation than men have. 

“It is 40 years since the breakthrough equal pay case of 1969 - which technically ended inequality

in pay - so it’s high time the backwards slide in the gender pay gap is addressed,” Mairi Steele


EOWA is a Federal Government statutory authority which administers the Equal Opportunity for Women in the

Workplace Act (1999). Employers of 100 people or more are required to report to the Agency on the initiatives they take

within their organisations to advance women in the workplace. EOWA works with employers to improve equal opportunity

outcomes for women in Australian workplaces.


More information available at:

Photo Opportunity

Acting EOWA Director, Mairi Steele & Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick will participate

in a panel discussion event at Sydney University on Equal Pay Day. Details as follows:


1 September 2009


10.30am – 11.30am


Holme Sutherland Room, The Holme Building, Science Road

The University of Sydney

news articles logo NEWS ARTICLES
Contact News Articles |Remove this article