Yes, You’re Worth Less. Now What Are You Going To Do?

Yes, You’re Worth Less. Now What Are You Going To Do?

By Cassandra Charlesworth

We’ve come a long way since bra burning and talk of glass ceilings but if you think women have attained equal status with men, think again.

Just ask TV presenter Lisa Wilkinson, who last year made the brave decision to walk away from Channel 9, reportedly over the fact she earned less than her male co-host for doing exactly the same job.

Even outside the glamour world of TV, the truth is we’re paid less, retire with less super, and by and large still do the bulk of domestic chores.

Here’s a frightening insight into the financial value of women, and wait…without spoiling the ending, turns out, we’re worth less than men.

The gender gap

Nothing puts something in perspective quite like a cold-hard bottom line. And the Workplace Gender Equality Agency offers just that. As of February 2018, they report:

  • The full-time gender pay gap is 15.3%, with women earning a weekly average of $1409 compared to a men’s average of $1662.70
  • That means women earn $253.70 per week less than men
  • Extrapolate that over a year and women earn an average of $13,192.40 less than their male peers.
  • That figure is buoyed by the public service, but in the private sector when bonuses, super and other payments are also taken into account, the figure reaches a startling 22.4% with men earning $26,527 more than women working full-time.

By no means getting better

To add insult to injury, it turns out the situation isn’t even improving that much. In 2004 the gender pay gap reached a low of 14.9% but it hasn’t been that equitable in more than a decade.

In 2014 the gap was at its widest in more than two 20 years, peaking at 18.5%. Since then it’s been enjoying a slow decline, but we’re still not back to where we were just four years into the 00’s.

Not so super

A career of inequality compounded by many women taking a break to have children has serious impacts on superannuation. And when we say serious, we’re talking women retiring with an average of $120,000 less than men.

Late last year the ABC reported that women who retired in 2016 had an average super balance of $157,000 while men had $271,000.

Meanwhile the average current super balance for women in 2016 was $68,000 and for men, $112,000. But that’s an improvement on years gone by. Super balances for women jumped 53 per cent between 2014 and 2016, while for men the increase was 35 per cent.

Domestic God…dess

On top of that job you’re paid less for doing, and the fewer financial rewards you can look forward to when it comes time to retire, there’s also the domestic chores that aren’t paid for at all.

2016 Census statistics reveal women spend between five and 14 hours a week doing unpaid domestic housework. For the typical Australian man, it’s less than five hours a week.

But take heart, a decade earlier national statistics indicated women spent 33 hours a week on domestic chores.

So, have we made progress, well yes and no…and it begs the question what’s the experience in your domestic realm? How do you share chores, what’s your super sitch and do you represent the pay inequality norm?


Cassandra Charlesworth

Cassandra Charlesworth is a features writer with 20 years’ journalism experience. She loves a good old-fashioned story and getting to the heart of a great yarn. She’s also a mum to three children who have encouraged her to hone some secret skills. Nimbly navigating Lego pieces left on her loungeroom floor and creating stylish Barbie attire from all manner of household objects are just a couple of credentials she’s recently added to her resume.

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