Less talk, more action on equal pay


On Equal Pay Day the Greens have called on the new government to redress 9 years of inaction on gender equality, and act immediately to close the gender pay gap, starting with free childcare and raising pay in the highly feminised workforce in our care economy.

Lines attributable to Senator Larissa Waters, Greens Leader in the Senate and spokesperson on Women

“Today marks the 60 extra days women need to work, on average, to earn the equivalent salary to men.

“There is now a national gender pay gap of 14.1 per cent - and if we include part-time workers, that pay gap widens to 29.7 per cent. Without targeted strategies, women won’t see the pay gap close until at least 2040.

“After nine years of a government who wanted women stuck in the 1950s, we need urgent action to reach gender equality, and nothing should be off the table.

“We need gender pay gap reporting obligations to apply to more employers, a ban on ‘pay gag clauses’ in the private sector, and stronger sanctions against companies who fail to close their pay gap.

“Gender pay equity needs to be a clear objective of the Fair Work Act, and award wages lifted by an additional 0.5% over CPI for the next ten years in female-dominated industries like childcare, healthcare and education.

“The stage 3 tax cuts should be dumped, they will worsen the gender pay gap with twice as much going to wealthy men as women, and that money should be spent on making childcare free, giving households real cost living relief immediately.

“Paid parental leave needs to be extended, made fairer, and include superannuation. Low income earners with caring responsibilities should also get a super boost.

“Minister Gallagher told the G20 ‘the spotlight is on the care economy’. Now we need to see some action to back that up.

“If closing the gender pay gap and improving women’s workforce participation isn’t a key outcome of the Jobs and Skills Summit, the government will have missed the point.”


Lines attributable to Senator Barbara Pocock, Greens spokesperson on Employment

“Women don’t have time to play catch up, and they shouldn’t have to.

“On top of the 60 extra days it takes women to earn the equivalent salary to men, women do twice as much unpaid work and care.

“Women suffer the insult of underpayment alongside a double working day, an epidemic of guilt and crushing work life stress. It’s time to fix the pay gap and ease the pressure on working carers. As Chair of the Parliament’s first Senate Select Committee on Work and Care, over the coming months I will be working on ways to relieve these pressures.

“The past thirty years have seen a revolution in the gender of workers, with women joining men in paid work. However, without the reallocation of housework and unpaid care, getting a job has also meant the right to exhaustion and a relentless work-life collision.

“While promising ‘a strong overarching focus on women’s experiences’ and a focus on equal opportunities and equal pay’, the Jobs and Skills Summit offers no practical pathway forward to improve outcomes for women. It’s a case, so far, of all talk no action.

“We need urgent action to reach gender equality and close the gender pay gap.