Monday 8 March is International Women’s Day #IWD2021 and this year’s theme is #ChooseToChallenge. In the words of the event organisers, “a challenged world is an alert world”.
After a difficult year which threatens the progress made on gender equality to date, the theme of this year’s event encourages everyone to call out and challenge gender bias and inequality.
Despite women representing 58.4% of students in higher education and out-numbering men completing their studies a gender pay gap still exists and is currently at 13.4%. According to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency – Australia’s Gender Pay Gap Statistics the gender pay gap is influenced by a number of factors including discrimination and bias in hiring and pay decisions, women and men working in different industries and different jobs with female-dominated industries and jobs attracting lower wages. Women’s disproportionate share of unpaid caring and domestic work, lack of workplace flexibility to accommodate caring and other responsibilities, especially in senior roles and women’s greater time out of the workforce impacting career progression and opportunities also influence pay inequalities.
Gender discrimination is illegal under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984, but there is much more that can be done to protect, support and celebrate women, especially in the workplace.
One area that came under the spotlight this year was childcare. Childcare needs due to school closures have been a particularly demanding issue of late, and this responsibility can often fall on mothers. Employers can help to challenge this through equal pay opportunities and family-friendly policies that acknowledge the flexibility needs of both parents.
Company culture also has a part to play. Why not give the women in your workplace a boost by recognising and celebrating #InternationalWomensDay? #ChooseToChallenge #IWD2021