The Gap Matters


Yesterday was Equal Pay Day. The national gender pay gap remains at 14% in 2019. This equates to 59 additional days from the end of the previous financial year that women must work, on average, to earn the same amount as men earnt that year.

The gap amounts to $241.50 per week between women and men’s full-time earnings on average in Australia.

Across the Australian labour market, Australian women continue to face systemic inequality. Women are disproportionately working in insecure and precarious forms of employment and shoulder the responsibility of caring for children and family members, which disrupts consistent engagement with work. They are also the majority of workers who experience violence in the workplace and outside of it.

The Peak Body for the union movement, the ACTU has previously called for a greater emphasis on equal pay outcomes through gender equity principals in the Fair Work Act, as well as specialist unit in the industrial umpire. This would assess both new agreements and modern award reviews for their effect on gender pay equity.

The Gap Matters for Medical Officers

Most of our members have their pay and conditions set by an Award or an enterprise agreement which usually comes with a far greater level of transparency and equity than the pay setting arrangements of employees in the private sector.

Despite this, data from Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) suggests that there is still a 13.1% pay difference when pay is set by an Award or an enterprise agreement. This reduces slightly when specifically looking at public sector workers, where the gender pay gap is 10.7% in contrast to 17.3% in the private sector.

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
  • women’s greater time out of the workforce impacting career progression and opportunities.

Looking specifically at our members, female medical officers still face very specific and challenging gender equity issues. Some of the recent issues ASMOF has been working on for our members are:

  • the ability to attend TESL conferences while on parental leave (Link)
  • payment for child care as an expense while on TESL
  • Parental Leave Portability see here
  • Discrimination and bullying in the workplace
  • Obtaining flexible work arrangements
  • Sex discrimination on the basis of pregnancy during hiring processes; and
  • Improvements to the Award in relation to paid parental leave.

If gender equity is an issue you care about, we would love you to join our Women's Working Group (WWG) where we discuss and tackle medical workforce issues affecting female medical officers. Email if you would like to know more.