Equal Pay Day

Equal Pay Day marks the period of extra days in the current year which women need to work to achieve the same wages that men earned during the previous financial year.

Equal Pay Day recognises how much longer women have to work to earn the same as men in one year. So, for every 12 months that men work, for example, women may have to work an extra 60 days – and the end of those extra days is marked by Equal Pay Day.

We mark this day as a way of drawing attention to the wage gap that exists in most countries between women and men. Our aim is to work towards reducing the damaging and substantial income gap between women and men, and to do this BPW International motivates BPW affiliates all over the world to establish an Equal Pay Day in their own country. Equal Pay Day is a prominent BPW event across Europe, but they calculate the day on a calendar year rather than the July-June financial year that Australia uses.  The USA financial year ends in April, so EPD can be at different times of the year across the globe.

Our challenge is to elevate this issue on the public agenda by raising awareness about pay inequity and making ‘wages’ a more acceptable subject of discussion. Only then will our country’s leaders be moved to initiate strategies to address the gap.

In Australia

The gender pay gap has been typically around 17% for around 20 years.

Every year the percentage is calculated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and is based on Average Weekly Earnings data.  There’s no one cause of the gap, and no one solution. In fact, most of the gap occurs because of unconscious bias. Employers don’t deliberately pay men and women differently – that is illegal; but they might recruit differently, create different position descriptions, have different expectations, or promote differently depending on whether you are a male or female – without even realising it.

Pay equity is important in the extra tax and GDP it would generate in the national economy. Job satisfaction is in part derived from the knowledge that an employee is  valued, but unfortunately women are increasingly marginalised in casual employment, in jobs that are not valued as highly as men’s, (ie ‘care’ such as healthcare and childcare),  and often restricted by lack of workplace flexibility.

In 2013, women graduates earned $5000 less than their male counterparts from day 1, up from a $2000 gap in 2012. The situation is worsening, despite Australia having the highest rate of educated women in the world (Global Gender Index, 2013).

Data reported in 2015 based on the first year of standardised gender reporting revealed the gender pay gap across all industries was 19.9% when based on full-time base remuneration, and 24.7% when based on full-time total remuneration. The largest gender pay gap occurred at very senior management levels (28.9%), followed by general managers (27.5%) then other managers (24.6%).  

For more information on Equal Pay Day visit http://www.equalpayday.com.au/ which has been developed by BPW Australia in conjunction with other members of the Equal Pay Alliance.

Equal Pay Day 

For the past decade Equal Pay Day has fallen in early September, based on the Gender Pay Gap, calculated using Average Weekly Earnings survey results released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in August. The Workplace Gender Equality Agency fact sheet Gender workplace statistics at a glance is updated annually with the latest figures. 
The Gender Pay Gap is the difference between men’s and women’s wages and stood at 17.3% in 2017. This means that men in the paid workforce earn an average of $279 more than women each week.  

Source: http://equalpayday.com.au/  a collaboration between BPW Australia, ACTU, and 50 organization supporters

BPW Australia Equal Pay Day Media Statement

BPW Australia calls on leaders in government and industry to initiate strategies to address and close the gender pay gap. The Gender Pay Gap has hovered between 15% and 19% for the past two decades (based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Average Weekly Earnings survey data). Despite the many social, legislative and technological advances of the 21st Century, pay inequality between women and men has stagnated. 

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency nominates the date of Equal Pay Day to recognise the extra weeks that women in employment in Australia must work  in order to be on a par with their male counterparts’ earnings in the previous financial year.

BPW Australia is working to elevate this issue on the public agenda by raising awareness about pay inequity and making ‘wages’ a matter of priority in public discussion. We mark Equal Pay Day as a way of drawing attention to the pay gap that exists not only in Australia but in most countries between women and men.


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