Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Women Lagging Behind on Pay

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Women Lagging Behind on Pay

Article excerpt

Byline: Pamela Frost

MEN in the Northern Rivers area are getting paid about $11,000 a year more than women - that's 33% more.

Out of data collected from local government areas in the region, Ballina recorded the highest pay gap with men being paid about $13,600 more than women on average.

Richmond Valley had the second highest pay gap of about $11,500 and Lismore recorded the lowest pay gap of about $9000.

The figures, calculated from Byron, Ballina, Lismore, Kyogle and Richmond Valley local government area data, showed machinery operator roles had the biggest pay gap, where men were paid about $19,000 more than women on average.

Across the five areas, men earn about $44,000 on average and women earn $33,000.

The region's pay gap is less than the state average.

In NSW, men get paid about $22,000 more on average than women, which is about a 34% gap.

National Council of Women member and equal pay advocate Elise Stephenson said these Australian Bureau of Statistics wage and salary earner figures from 2010/11 had not changed.

The university student said it also revealed just how bad the problem was.

"People think we're doing much better than we're actually doing," she said. "And when you've got a perception that 'we're doing fine', there is less emphasis to change things."

Ms Stephenson said it was "absolutely ridiculous" and "outdated" that men were still getting paid more than women.

"Money is the main way we value work in our society," she said.

"What does it tell us of how we value our women?"

Experts say there are several reasons why women still fall behind men when it comes to wages, from employers offering less money to women deciding between a job at lower pay and no job at all.

Ms Stephenson said research showed women were more reluctant than men to negotiate.

"There has been research done on how women are more reluctant to put themselves forward," she said.

"A man will go and ask for a promotion and then prove himself but a woman will tend to prove herself and then ask for a promotion. …

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