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Why do Australian women earn less than Australian men? The quest for equal pay has been a highly emotive and political debate, spanning a number of decades.After thirty years of equal pay legislation, however, the gender wage gap in the Australian workplace continues, females earning about 8% less than their male counterparts in all industries and all-major occupational groupings.We do know that young women and men generally express the same range of desires regarding their future careers in terms of such values as making money and having autonomy and flexibility at work, as well as time to spend with family.
Wage gap skeptics emphasize that women ‘choose’ different and lower-paying college majors than men, implying such differences mean that the wage gap measure is not a good measure of economy-wide wage inequality. There is considerable evidence of barriers to free choice of occupations, ranging from lack of unbiased information about job prospects to actual harassment and discrimination in male-dominated jobs.In fact, the 80.5 percent figure falls in the middle of the range of these other estimates.Looking at the gender wage gap by race/ethnicity also reveals the moderate nature of the 80.5 percent figure.Equality of wages in Australia is of high concern, and has been for a long period of time.On no account of Australia's history, have women and men's wages ever been equal, rather they have always had a significant gap between them.If part-time workers were included, the wage ratio would be 73 percent, a gap of 27 percent.The United Kingdom has used life-time earnings ratios.In 2017, White women earned 77 percent of what White men earned annually.For most women of color, the gender wage gap is even more severe.In this post, we argue that the figure is an accurate measure of the inequality in earnings between women and men who work full-time, year-round in the labor market and reflects a number of different factors: discrimination in pay, recruitment, job assignment, and promotion; lower earnings in occupations mainly done by women; and women’s disproportionate share of time spent on family care, including that they—rather than fathers—still tend to be the ones to take more time off work when families have children.Just because the explanation of the gender wage gap is multi-faceted does not make it a lie.