UnionsWA has commented on the release today of new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics on the gap in pay between women and men and highlighted the many often low paid care work undertaken by women that are vital for a strong, community-wide response to the pandemic.
Owen Whittle, Acting Secretary UnionsWA said:
“Too often the unsung heroes of this pandemic are the underpaid heroes.
“Today’s figures confirm that Western Australia continues to have to worst gender pay gap of any State or Territory in Australia, a status held for many, many years.
“A key driver of this unfairness is that the workforce in WA is highly segregated with women often in jobs that traditionally, and still today, are undervalued with lower pay compared with jobs often held by men at higher pay.
“Critically, given the challenges of the pandemic, women are often in lower paid or unpaid roles as carers for older West Australians, jobs caring for those who are sick or have a disability or in jobs caring for children.
“The gap in pay between women and men is now at 22.7% in WA compared with 14.0% nationally.
“Over the past year, the gap in WA has gotten worse while nationally it has remained stable.
“Based on full time ordinary earnings, women in WA are paid $454 per week less than men on average.
“The pandemic-induced recession makes interpreting short-term trends using this new data difficult.
“For example, the gender pay gap relies on differences in average earnings comparing women and men.
“However, these figures from May this year, prior to the introduction of the Job Keeper Program, show that many fewer West Australians were in work and that many job losses were for casual and part time, low paid workers and so the average pay of those remaining has risen.
“Nevertheless, the gender pay gap in WA remains persistently bad over a long period, well beyond these complicating, short-term factors."
Source: Average Weekly Earnings Australia, May 2020 ABS Cat No. 6302.0 available online here.