Equal Pay Day – an opportunity for ECEC to lead through greater change

by Freya Lucas

August 27

The Australian Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW) is marking Equal Pay Day (28 August) 2019 by calling on decision makers and those in positions of power to “get behind the data and Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) to make the workplace more equitable”. 

 

Their calls are especially pertinent in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector, where between 94 and 97 per cent of the workforce is female. With estimates outlining the challenges for the workforce as they struggle with savings, and face an underfunded retirement, advocates within the sector are becoming increasingly vocal about the need for educators to seek fairer outcomes for their labour. 

 

Equal Pay Day is acknowledged on the 28 August this year, representing the 59 additional days from the end of the previous financial year which women must work to earn the same pay as men. 

 

WGEA is an Australian Government statutory agency created by the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012. The Agency is charged with promoting and improving gender equality in the Australian workplaces.

 

Speaking about Equal Pay Day, BPW Australia President Jacqueline Graham said “Gender equality and gender diversity at work is not just nice to have. Gender equity is a basic human right, but its achievement also brings socio-economic benefits to everyone. By empowering women, the broader community thrives, increasing productivity and growth.” 

 

Ms Graham noted that WGEA has confirmed through their reporting that there is “overwhelming evidence” that when employers analyse their data for pay gaps and take clear actions, their pay gap reduces. 

 

This year Equal Pay Day marks the 50th Anniversary of landmark legislation of equal pay for equal work. The national gender pay gap released by WGEA is 14 per cent, a decline of 0.1 per cent in the  last six months, BPW said. 

 

A variety of suggestions in support of the day have been put forward by the Equal Pay Day campaign, including: 

 

  • carry red purses and red bags to represent economic discrimination

 

  • ask local cafés and restaurants to promote an “Unhappy Hour” between 12 and 2 p.m. or after work and offer a discount to women on meals and drinks equal to the gender pay gap

 

  • arrange forums and debates covering the topic of pay inequality 

 

  • organise workshops on how to better negotiate pay

 

  • attend one of the BPW or Security4Women events being held around Australia

 

  • Join the conversation on social media #EqualPayDay #TheGapMatters

 

 

For employers wishing to make a difference, BPW propose the following: 

 

 

  • Report the results of your pay gap analysis to the executive and board.

 

 

 

  • Set targets to diversify your workforce.

 

 

  • Offer more support for carers, such as increasing paid parental leave, providing breastfeeding facilities or creating an internal support network for parents.

 

  • Consult with your employees about what support they need from you as an employer.

 

More information about the Equal Pay Day campaign is available here

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