Women denied a fair go
New Tasmanian strategy addresses gender inequality
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.