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Exploring the Gender Pay Gap this International Womens Day

IWD, Economics

Every International Womens' Day, the Gender Pay Gap is discussed, along with celebrating women's achievement, and raising awareness about discrimination. Unfortunately it feels at times like nothing changes.

The gender pay gap is the difference in earnings between males and females for a full-time equivalent position. According to the OECD, this gap stands at 11.6% across OECD countries, with Australia performing slightly better at 9.9%.

While unconscious gender biases persist in the workplace and require ongoing improvement efforts, two significant factors contribute to the earnings gap: the choice of occupation and decisions regarding family responsibilities. Women often find themselves in service-based industries such as healthcare and education, which typically offer lower salaries, greater flexibility in work hours, and fewer travel demands. Conversely, men dominate manual industries like construction and mining, where higher wages compensate for less flexible hours and higher physical risks.

The rise of artificial intelligence poses a threat to both routine manual and cognitive jobs, potentially affecting male employment in sectors traditionally dominated by men. On the other hand, an aging population may lead to an increase in non-routine manual work, offering more opportunities for women. However, women may still face challenges in sectors like technology, where male dominance persists as technology becomes increasingly vital.

Gender disparities in career choices begin before entering the workforce. Examining HSC school enrollments reveals significant gender gaps in subject preferences. While females outnumber males in subjects like textiles and design, males dominate areas like software design and engineering studies.

Efforts to address the gender pay gap must address not only workplace biases but also societal attitudes and educational opportunities that influence career paths from an early age.


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