Gender Segregation in the Workplace

Early last month, the Finance and Public Administration References Committee handed down its report into “Gender segregation in the workplace and its impact on women’s economic equality”. In the report, the Committee seeks to provide practical steps to deliver fairer workplaces and consequently, a more efficient and innovative economy.



The Executive Summary of the report noted that the working lives of Australian men and women differ greatly. The report acknowledged that men and women do not often work ‘side by side’ but work in occupations or industries which are dominated by one gender or another.


The report found that in the 2015 – 16 reporting year, 6 in 10 Australian employees worked in an industry which is dominated by one gender. In other words, 60 per cent of Australian workers do not work in an industry with what would be regarded as balanced gender representation.


The Pay Gap.


The report found that for every 10 per cent increase in the ratio of men to women in an industry, the average wage only increases by 1.9 per cent. For every 10 per cent increase in this ratio in an occupation, the average wage increase is a meagre 0.8 per cent.


It was found that the problem is particularly prevalent in occupations such as childcare, in-home disability, aged care and education; those which include an aspect of care. The emotional labour skills required for such professions are “undervalued in the labour market” whilst they are essential skills for people in this line of work.



Report Recommendations.


Overall the committee has made some nine recommendations including:


•• a call for coordination across government to deliver tangible action on pay equity;
•• reforms to the Fair Work Act 2009 to improve the mechanism by which the undervaluation of female dominated work can be redressed;
•• greater focus on the role of career guidance and counselling in Australia; and
•• consider data collection and research to identify gendered patterns of work.



The Promising Reality.


The economic advantages of addressing gender segregation in the workplace and in all industries, were covered by inquiry. It was noted that:


•• The potential boost to Australia’s GDP as a direct result of closing the gap between male and female employment would be between 11 per cent and more than 20 per cent;
•• advancing women’s equality could add as much as $12 trillion to global GDP by 2025 and;
•• Large grossing companies with women directors on their boards delivered significantly higher Return on Equity than those companies no women directors.



How we can help.


Anderson Fredericks Turner is experienced in assisting clients in making complaints of discrimination. If you feel like you are being discriminated against or have any other legal concerns, we are here to help you.



Visit their website or call 4724 3003 to find out more.

If you prefer to see us in person, our office is conveniently located on the Ground Floor at 61-73 Sturt Street.



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