Counterpunch: Practical ways to raise women’s wages
Union secretary Sally McManus urged women to do starjumps, take a nap, phone their mother and undertake various other activities to show their employers and fellow sisters and brothers that they really are serious about wanting equal pay.
The thing is though, we’ve had equal pay for years!
Yes, women on average tend to earn 18% (almost a million dollars) less than men over the course of their lifetime. That 18% figure comes from an AMP.NATSEM report done a couple of years ago.
I blogged about the report at the time for news.com.au, and made the comment that according to according to co-author of the ‘Income and Wealth Report’, Riyana Miranti, past generations of women did often get paid less for the same role, but that is not the situation nowadays.
To quote her directly: “The Baby Boomer generation had more wage discrepancy, but Generation Y women in a profession have wage parity – there is only a 0.6% difference in wage rate.”
In other words (barring a few rogue employers) women get paid the same amount for the same job as men. So why do women earn 18% less? It’s due to a combination of factors including starting work at a later age, retiring younger, taking time off for child raising or looking after family members, working fewer hours/working part time and choosing different careers.
All choices that we voluntarily make for ourselves.
Still, career-satisfaction is important, so perhaps we should pay women more for the careers that they choose. Yes? Well then instead of star jumps and naps, here’s a few practical ways in which you can help your sisters earn the salaries they deserve:
Nursing: It’s a female-dominated industry which many believe is chronically underpaid. We would be in deep crap without our nurses. So – take out private health insurance, the top cover. And use it.
Inundate our private hospitals, raise the demand for our nurses (and hence, supply and demand being intertwined, raise their salary). Also encourage the government to scrap the 30% health insurance rebate.
Sure, it will be expensive for you, but doing these two things will take pressure off the public system, freeing up some extra money that the government can use to raise the wages of our nurses.
Teaching: The government coffers aren’t a bottomless pit (nor are taxpayer pockets) so start paying for public school educations. A few hundred dollars a term, per student, straight to the teachers and administrative staff at the schools will go a long way to boosting their salaries to be a little bit more commensurate with their skill and dedication to the very important role of educating the next generation.
Administration: Again, the economic principal of supply and demand will fix it. Start by encouraging the state and federal governments to introduce a new levy of taxpayers – along the lines of the medicare levy – to enable them to double the salary of government admin staff.
Private employers will have to follow suit or face an exodus of staff. Of course, it will raise the costs of – well – just about everything you need to buy. But still – it will increase wages in a female-dominated industry.
I could go on and on – there’s plenty of other female-dominated industries out there – but you get the point. You just need to start coughing up more money out of your own pocket; to start paying more for those services in female-dominated industries. It’s called putting your money where your mouth is.
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