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It's Equal Pay day - 25 August

Today, as we observe Equal Pay Day, it's essential to reflect on the strides we've taken towards achieving pay equity while acknowledging the persistent challenges that still lie ahead. The efforts of union members have led to significant progress, but the gender pay gap remains an issue that demands our attention and action.

Over the past decades, we have witnessed some progress in narrowing the gender pay gap in Queensland. Thanks to advocacy of union members and increasing awareness, the disparity between men's and women's earnings has reduced. 

Initiatives won by union members coupled with increased workplace transparency, have fostered an environment where pay discrepancies are being recognised and addressed more openly.

Despite these positive developments, the gender pay gap continues to be a pressing concern. According to data from the Women's Employment and Gender Equality Agency (WEGEA) in Queensland, women still earn, on average, approximately 14.8% less than their male counterparts. This means that, in financial terms, women effectively work for free for more than two months of the year compared to men. In recent years we've unfortunately seen this figure INCREASING. The gender pay gap is getting worse in Queensland. 

The factors contributing to the gender pay gap are complex and multifaceted. Occupational segregation, wherein certain industries and roles are dominated by one gender, plays a significant role. Additionally, women's disproportionate responsibilities in care-giving and the undervaluation of roles predominantly held by women contribute to the persistence of the gap.

The Path Forward

While acknowledging the progress made, it's evident that our journey towards pay equity is far from over. The trade union movement, alongside government bodies and advocacy groups, must continue to champion initiatives that promote transparency in pay scales, challenge stereotypes, and encourage women's representation in leadership roles.

Employers and organisations must commit to conducting regular pay audits and actively working to rectify any identified disparities. Policies that support work-life balance and offer affordable childcare solutions can help alleviate the burden disproportionately shouldered by women.

As we mark Equal Pay Day in Queensland, we must remember that achieving pay equity isn't just a goal – it's a necessity. Our collective efforts have undoubtedly driven progress, but the data speaks for itself: the gender pay gap persists. Let us renew our commitment to dismantling the barriers that contribute to this gap and continue striving for a future where all individuals are fairly compensated for their contributions, regardless of gender.