YOUTH VOICE: Wake Up World, It’s The Twenty-First Century! — Gender Inequality in Wages and Conditions

Posted on June 29, 2011 by


BY MARTIN DICKENS

After another spate of volatile segments presented in the national media this week, a dominant discussion topic was the issue of wage equality between males and females. For many years now,the gender gap has decreased across Australian society in the workplace in primary social institutions. However, the media industry itself took a lashing when Channel Nine’s A Current Affair program and the Herald Sun newspaper published a story detailing the significant pay gap between Channel Seven’s Sunrise program presenters David Koch and Melissa Doyle. On record, the program stated that there was an annual $400,000 pay difference between what Koch’s female counterpart Doyle received as a salary. Sadly, this state of affairs is not confined only to the media industry and it is a growing concern which needs to be addressed.

According to statistics released by Rice Warner Actuaries and the Australian Council of Trade Unions, working females can expect to be one million dollars worse off in their lifetime in comparison to their male counterparts. This substantially large figure suggests ultimately two key social concerns : The first, that the socialisation of children takes place under strict patriarchal confines and is reliant on both ignorant and outdated traditionalist views. Secondly, social reform undertaken by government authorities has done little to remedy the denial of access for women into highly paid categories of employment. Whilst these particular issues must not be limited to the nationalist boundaries of Australia, as a regional citizen, the reiteration of these prejudices against females occurs continuously. In effect, for people of my generation, it is creating a social gender gap between both males and females.

In a 2008 report released by the Human Rights Commission entitled Gender Equality: What Matters to Australian Women and Men, the ability for women to participate in paid employment was identified as a key foundation for securing a female’s well being and independence. However, in regional communities throughout Australia, it is the dominant male representation in industry which has then alienated them from accessing workplace opportunities. For those who are successful in breaking the fortress and barriers of male industry, it is rare that these women will be able to access full time employment opportunities. Furthermore, as women still acquire the bulk of responsibility in undertaking domestic household duties, they are typically forced into part-time employment. The effects of this, according to the report, are that women adopt additional stress in terms of accumulating superannuation and securing a sense of independence.

We live today in the twenty first century. As a young male, I would hate to think that if I married in the future and decided to live in a rural locality that my wife would be disadvantaged in accessing job opportunities. The time has come for Generation Y to make a stand against ingrained gender prejudices. It is no longer a question of feminist controversy; I believe in a society where men and women are equal and I hope that it is the males of my generation who will be prepared to make concessions for females to defeat the inequalities left by the generations of our parents and our grandparents.

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Martin Dickens is a Second Year Bachelor of Arts Student studying at La Trobe University’s Albury Wodonga Campus. He is currently the President of the Political Awareness Club and holds a strong interest in both Australian politics and international affairs. He has served as an acting delegate for the United Nations Regional Youth Summits and was recently awarded the Deans Prize First Year for the most outstanding student in the Bachelor of Arts. Martin is also interested in education policy and regional development in terms of infrastructure and service delivery.

The views in this story are those of the author and not necessarily those of Our Voice: Politics Albury-Wodonga.

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