Ep #82: Understanding the Gender Pay Gap

May 2, 2024 • 14min


Picture this: for every dollar a man pockets in Australia, a woman is left with just 78 cents in her purse.

It’s the unfortunate reality according to recent reports that highlight a gender pay gap of 21.7% across the nation. These figures serve as a stark reminder of the amount of work we still need to do to achieve pay equity in the workplace.

Open conversations are incredibly powerful tools for change, so I want to talk about the gender pay gap with you. I know there’s a lot of data on this subject and that it can be overwhelming so this episode will give you an overview. By the end, you will be better equipped for future episodes on this topic and hopefully ready to have meaningful conversations about the gender pay gap in your own life. 

So, what is the Gender Pay Gap?

There are a lot of different ways to measure this, but my source is the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA). According to them, the gender pay gap is “a measure of how we value the contribution of men and women in the workforce.” This can be communicated as a dollar amount (78 cents on the dollar) or a percentage (21.7%), but whichever way it’s a representation of the difference in earnings. 


I like WGEA’s assessment of the gender pay gap because I believe it gives a more comprehensive overview than other sources like the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Some of the biggest differences are: 

  • The WGEA looks at all organisations with more than 100 employees, where the ABS gets its data from a sample. 
  • The ABS solely looks at base pay, but the WGEA considers other forms of remuneration like bonuses, benefits, and overtime. 
  • The ABS excludes data from part-time or casual workers, whereas the WGEA them in. This is especially important when you consider we have more women in these roles. 


Benefits of Addressing the Gender Pay Gap

First and foremost, if we had pay equity it would be incredibly beneficial for all women. It might be hard to visualise when we’re talking small numbers like 78 cents, but when you take that across our weekly pay, our annual income, or our lifetime earnings - it’s much easier to see women are losing out on huge amounts of money.  It’s money that could be used to help women escape situations like homelessness or domestic violence. The benefits go beyond women though. The gender pay gap is estimated to cost the Australian economy 52 billion dollars. Imagine what could change if that wasn’t the case! There are countless more reasons why we need to address this issue and I’ll touch on more of them in future episodes.


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I acknowledge the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the lands on which I conduct my business, the Wangal and Gadigal Peoples of the Eora Nation. I pay my respects to their Elders past, present and emerging, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait peoples.