||Issue No. 329||20 October 2006|
Sucking the Oranges
Interview: Cowboys and Indians
Industrial: Seven Deadly Sins
Unions: The IT Factor
Politics: Bargain Basement
Environment: An Inconvenient Hoax
Corporate: Two Sides
International: Unfair Dismissals
History: A Stitch in Time
Review: The Wind that Shakes the Barley
Letters to the Editor
Women Choose to Earn Less ˆ Thanks Bettina! Low Pay that‚s for me!
It would seem that after all these years Bettina Arndt still has no understanding of gender pay inequality in the Australian workforce. Her headline `Women Choose to earn less‰ confounds most women. I am yet to come across a woman who gleefully cries `Low Pay - that‚s for me‰ or feels that being paid her true value for her work should in some way be reduced because she has family responsibilities. Arndt displays a lack of understanding of the problem of pay equity and the constrained `choices‚ that women face. Firstly, she explains the gender wage gap as being the result of men working more hours than women. If Arndt were to examine hourly rates of pay for women and men in almost all industries and occupations she would find a persistent gap between men and women‚s earnings paid at an hourly rate.
Arndt claims that women choose to work part-time to fit with their family responsibilities. Yes this is true but this in no way should suggest that their value for the work performed should be less than a male because she works shorter hours. I would think that Arndt would encourage more flexible forms of employment that is fairly paid and would enable and encourage women to balance work and family commitments.
Arndt also seems to ignore one of the real problems associated with pay inequality that being that the work women do is undervalued and not paid appropriately for the skill, qualifications and worth, (child care workers are an example).. The Federal Government has ignored and failed to address the issue of pay equity. While all of the States Governments have held Inquires and introduced policies in an to attempt to redress pay equity the Federal Government has not acted. Further, through its Work Choices legislation it has removed any effective way of addressing the issue and many of the achievements made in workplace flexibility. . Federal Government policies will exacerbate wage inequality and will diminish a woman‚s ability to balance her work and family arrangements.
National Pay Equity Coalition
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