Fight on for equal rights
Yet the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA) finds just 8.4 per cent of board director positions in Australia’s top 200 companies are held by women.
Its annual report reveals the percentage of women in management roles fell from 33.5 per cent in 2009 to 32.5 per cent in 2010.
The average total full-time earnings of women is still 20 per cent less than men, with women taking home $1146.80 a week and men $1432.40 a week, latest ABS figures show.
One of the reasons is that women work in roles and industries that simply do not pay as much as other more male-dominated sectors.
Australian Services Union branch secretary Katrine Hildyard says 85 per cent of staff in the community services sector are women and it has the highest number of multiple tertiary degree holders of any other sector.
Yet people who work in community services don’t get similar pay to people working in other industries, she says.
‘‘As a society, we simply don’t recognise and reward the work of these important South Australians,’’ she says. Inequality also is felt in specific industries long associated with being ‘‘a man’s job’’.
The percentage of women training in trade careers is about 10 per cent.
ETSA Utilities is embarking on a new pre-employment program, the first of its kind in Australia, to provide women with industry-specific skills to help them work in electrotechnology’s traditional men’s roles.
Its Strategic Projects senior project manager Dannielle Kurbatfinski, 38, has worked for ETSA for 21 years.
‘‘As a girl in a male-dominated environment, you have to prove yourself first,’’ she says. ‘‘Men don’t have to prove themselves. I just got in there and did it.’’
She encourages women to pursue their interests. ‘‘You find everybody gives people a chance and I think you’ll find it’s not as daunting as it may sound.
‘‘There’s really good support systems as well. You’re not out there doing it alone.’’