Gender Pay Difference the Widest in 28 Years

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A CommSec report published this month revealed that annual male wages have outstripped female wages by a whopping $12,870, and the pay gap is now at its widest since the early 1980s.

Looking at the pay gap in percentage terms, the data showed that female wages are just 82.5% of male wages. Craig James, CommSec chief economist, said the difference was partly due to high wages in male-dominated industries such as mining and engineering, and were somewhat to blame for the wider gap.

"One key reason is the rising demand for labour in male-dominated sectors such as mining and construction," he told the Herald Sun, adding "Still, there remain worrying wage disparities in other sectors."

Director of the Equal Opportunities for Women in the Workplace Agency, Helen Conway, said the growth in male-dominated industries may be one factor, but "there are fundamental structural factors that need to be changed before the issue of equal pay for women can be properly addressed".

Federal Government entity, the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA) has declared the coming 1 September 'Equal Pay Day 2011'.

The date was chosen to symbolise the pay gap, as it marks the additional time after the official end of the financial year (63 days) that women have to work in order to match men's earnings in that financial year.

At an awareness raising event held in Sydney yesterday, EOWA pay equity specialist Phillippa Hall advised organisations and businesses to consult the array of online tools and resources available on their website which offer assistance to organisations in bridging the pay gap.

For more information, visit www.eowa.gov.au