Women Still Get Paid Shit All Compared to Men

Women Still Get Paid Shit All Compared to Men

Australian women’s 9-to-5 is actually more of a 9-to-3:38. At least, that’s the time we’re getting paid to work to due to the current 17.3% gender pay gap in our country.

This issue is universal, though the percentage difference varies. Last month, French women collectively walked out of their workplaces at 4:34pm as part of a fight against their 15.1% wage disparity. On October 24, female employees in Iceland left the office at 2:38pm, a move that reflected the 72 cents Icelandic women earn to every dollar paid to men.

It’s pretty disheartening to think that if I worked the percentage of the day where I’m paid the same as a man, I could technically be out of the office eating cake as my mid-afternoon sugar cravings hit, and financially be no worse off.

On Monday this week, the Australian Taxation Office released new data that ranked the 50 highest paying jobs for Australian men and women. At the top of the list for men is a neurosurgeon on a salary of $577 674. For us females, it’s a judge earning $355 844 per annum. As a general rule, female neurosurgeons can expect to earn around 44% less than their male equivalents, regardless of expertise. What’s more, male gynecologists are paid almost double than females, even though that’s one area where women have undeniably more knowledge and experience.

Australia has recently been ranked 46th in the world in terms of gender equality by The World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Report. The report looked at things like economic opportunities, political empowerment, education and health. Though we fared better than the US (ranked 65th), it’s a pretty grim ranking for a nation that continually insists we’re developed. But we’re not alone: right now, there’s not a country in the world where women’s earnings are equal to that of men. Not one.

There are many who argue that part of the reason for the pay gap is that women are far less likely to ask for a salary rise than men. But the results of a study of Australian workers released in September this year found this was not the case: women ask for pay increases just as frequently as their male counterparts – we’re just far less likely to be granted them.

2186 is the year the World Economic Forum reckons we will achieve worldwide gender pay equality. This means that even my great-great-great granddaughters probably won’t earn as much as my great-great-great grandsons for doing the exact same job.

Until then, the full-time average earning difference between men and women in Australia sits at around $278 a week. And when comparing the average weekly income of non-Indigenous men to Indigenous women, the stats are even more grim. How frustrating to think how much healthier-looking all our bank accounts could be if only we were sitting at our desks with a penis.

Equality is an endurance race, and it is innovative protests like those in Europe that strike a chord with the public. An open dialogue helps us women see that we’re being ripped off and motivates us to mobilise and show that wage disparity is not okay. So although the gender pay gap is slowly closing, let’s close it faster, because it would be awesome if my great-great granddaughter could become a kickass gynecologist and afford to keep her patient’s legs open.

Cover by Nick Karvounis