Earlier this week we saw the US president inaugurated and get started on tackling another term.
And what we heard him say, among many things (war, security, blah blah blah), was the need to focus on a couple of key issues that (it would be fair to say) a large majority of people – US citizen or other – to this day have ignored.
Gay equality. Climate change. Equal pay for women.
The point that seemed to immediately cause ringing in my ears was was when Obama stated:
“For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts.”
But my immediate reaction was not of joy. I did not experience relief that The US President is asking the world to be fair, to give me a break, as a woman, with an equal right to any male for equal pay, opportunity and conditions.
My reaction was mostly disappointment. Disappointment that it had to be said at all.
I think 2012 was one of the most infuriating years I have experienced as a woman on the issue of gender equality. Either I have become more attuned to the issue and my place in it, or I quite simply cannot believe we are still faced with the same challenges so I have become more crappy about it.
It simply isn’t fair.
We are told to put up with the fact that ‘life isn’t fair’. Tell that to the recently graduated female students of Universities across Australia where they will, without doubt, spend their working lives earning less than men for no reason other than they have a vagina.
According to an annual study released this month by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), the gender pay gap for graduates is $5000.
This gap has increased by $3000 from $2000 in 2011. That’ right, the gender pay gap is getting BIGGER.
Never mind the fact that you turned up to the same university, with the same lectures, completing the same work, and according to some research, received better grade point averages across the board compared to your male counterparts.
No, for the simple reason that you are female, and that life isn’t fair, you will be paid less.
“Sorry about that.”
And this is just an introduction of what these young women can continue to expect because as we know, the pay gap continues to widen throughout a women’s career. According to the Australian Bureau of statistics (2012) Australian women earn 17.5% less than Australian men.
How so very 2013.
I don’t even want to think about how gender affects the actual hiring rates of graduates either. If recruiters are happy to pay more for males (which can only be interpreted that they perceive males to be somehow more valuable to the workplace), I can only assume that they are more likely to recruit a male over a female in interviewing.
So not only are we paid less, we are probably recruited less too.
If I was completely honest, I’d tell you I want to say “Fuck you male-world”. But there isn’t a lot of point in that. Instead I’ll spend my energy writing to Prime Minister Gillard to see what she has to say on the matter.
Have you experienced less or more pay due to your gender? we’d love to hear about it.