Equal pay for women?March 10, 2008
Today I saw a petition for getting equal pay for women in Australia. This is certainly an important goal however the goal of the petition is for the Government to “take action” to make it so:
I call on the Australian Government to take action to achieve equal pay for women.
Bold political leadership is required to change the legislative framework and shift cultural attitudes to close the 16% pay gap that currently exists between men and women.
I think there is certainly a place for Government leadership in this area, however I think a more important goal would be to provide information and resources for all Australians to know what they are worth and ensure they get the pay they deserve. I think there may be many reasons why women overall earn less than men, and some that are probably not malicious. For instance, many women don’t know what their jobs could earn and so don’t push for more money. Also now that collective bargaining is harder it is more difficult to know what your workmates are earning and to ensure you get the same.
There certainly are circumstances where women are prejudiced against in the workforce in terms of pay, and I believe the best way to combat this is to “arm the masses”. If you know what you are worth, then you won’t do with less. In a market where we have major skills shortages across the board (particularly in IT) people can ask for what they are worth and get it 🙂