Women de­nied a fair go

New Tas­ma­nian strat­egy ad­dresses gen­der in­equal­ity

Sunday Tasmanian - - News - ANNE MATHER

MORE women are study­ing at the Univer­sity of Tas­ma­nia than men, but they can ex­pect to earn $1.5 mil­lion less than their male peers over the course of their life­time.

The new Tas­ma­nian Women’s Strat­egy 2018-22 has out­lined what it de­scribes as “an alarm­ing pic­ture that il­lus­trates per­sis­tent gaps in earn­ings, work­force par­tic­i­pa­tion and su­per­an­nu­a­tion sav­ings ex­pe­ri­enced by women”.

The strat­egy points out that while more women are en- rolled at UTAS, they are paid 96 per cent of the start­ing salaries of their male coun­ter­parts upon grad­u­a­tion.

The ra­tio of fe­male stu­dents at UTAS is higher than the na­tional av­er­age, with fe­males mak­ing up 60.5 per cent of un­der­grad­u­ate stu­dents at UTAS com­pared with 55.5 per cent na­tion­ally.

The strat­egy shows that Tas­ma­nian women work­ing full time earn an av­er­age of $1243 a week com­pared with $1414 earned by men.

Over a life­time, a man with a bach­e­lor de­gree can ex­pect to earn $3.6 mil­lion, which is 1.7 times more than a wo­man with equiv­a­lent qual­i­fi­ca­tions.

Other key ex­am­ples of eco­nomic in­equity high­lighted in the strat­egy in­clude:

are more than twice as likely to work part-time — 66,000 women are in part­time em­ploy­ment com­pared with 28,300 men.

are more than four times as likely to be singe par- ents — with 18,883 women rais­ing chil­dren alone com­pared with 4545 men.

in three women re­tire with­out su­per­an­nu­a­tion, and the av­er­age man re­tires with 46 per cent more money than the av­er­age wo­man.

Even when women work full time, they still re­port do­ing more house­work than men — many do­ing more than 15 hours of un­paid house­work a week more than men.

To make up for the eco­nomic di­vide, the strat­egy says the Govern­ment has com­mit­ted to: sup­port­ing a study look- ing at older women’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the work­force; sup­port ru­ral women in the pri­mary in­dus­tries and give awards to em­ploy­ers that sup­port work-life bal­ance.

The Govern­ment is also sup­port­ing more fe­males into STEMM (sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, engi­neer­ing, math­e­mat­ics and medicine) and work­ing with En­gi­neers Aus­tralia to pro­mote engi­neer­ing ca­reers.

Health Min­is­ter Jac­quie Petrusma said that more work was needed to im­prove gen­der eq­uity.

“De­spite many gains, gen- der in­equal­ity per­sists in our com­mu­nity, pre­vent­ing Tas­ma­nian women and girls reach­ing their full po­ten­tial,” she said.

UTAS gen­der and fem­i­nism re­searcher Mered­ith Nash said the strat­egy was “hol­low” in terms of spe­cific ac­tions to mea­sure re­gard­ing im­prov­ing rates for women in lead­er­ship.

Dr Nash said the strat­egy also had some “glar­ing omis­sions”, in­clud­ing a strat­egy for stamp­ing out sex­ual ha­rass­ment and sup­port for LGBTIQ women.

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