SA industry leaders to confront gender pay gap

The State Government’s new Gender Pay Gap Taskforce will meet for the first time in October with the aim of eliminating the gap between average earnings of men and women in South Australia.

Sep 30, 2022, updated Sep 30, 2022
Minister for Women and the
Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Katrine Hildyard. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

Minister for Women and the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Katrine Hildyard. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

Minister for Women and the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Katrine Hildyard, today released the list of industry and sector leaders set to comprise the ground-breaking group.

Member of the Legislative Council the Hon Irene Pnevmatikos will sit as the chair of the new taskforce with other notable industry leaders including BHP Asset President of Olympic Dam Jennifer Purdie and Eldercare CEO Jane Pickering (full list below).

The Taskforce’s objectives are to ‘identify specific issues which lead and contribute to the gender pay gap in South Australia, consult with subject matter experts, provide high-level independent advice to the Minister and make recommendations on actions to reduce the gap’.

The Taskforce will meet over a two-year period.

The gender pay gap is an internationally established measure of women’s position in the economy compared with men, gauging the difference between average earnings in the workforce.

A government spokesperson said the gap is the result of ‘social and economic factors that combine to reduce women’s earning capacity over their lifetime’.

“This includes conscious and unconscious 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,” the spokesperson said.

“It also includes a lack of workplace flexibility to accommodate caring and other responsibilities, especially in senior (higher paying) roles, women’s disproportionate share of unpaid caring and domestic work, including greater time out of the workforce for caring responsibilities; and high rates of part-time work for women.”

South Australia’s gender pay gap is 7.4%.

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The work of the Taskforce will sit alongside a range of measures the State Government has committed to in working towards the achievement of gender equality.

Minister Hildyard said South Australia has always been a leader in gender equality.

“I want us to continue to lead the way in our shared efforts to close the gender pay gap, the $124 weekly difference in average full-time earnings for men and women can add up to a lifetime of inequality,” Hildyard said.

Chair of the taskforce Pnevmatikos said recent global events had contributed to the gender pay gap in recent years.

“We know impacts such as the climate emergency, the pandemic and poverty disproportionately affect women’s participation in the workforce,” Pnevmatikos said.

“As a result, we have seen the national gender pay gap increase in recent years. This has highlighted the stark realities of inequality within South Australian workplaces.”

 South Australia’s Gender Pay Gap Taskforce

  • Member of the Legislative Council the Hon Irene Pnevmatikos(Chair)
  • BHP Asset President Olympic Dam Jennifer Purdie
  • Eldercare CEO Jane Pickering
  • Business SA CEO Andrew Kay
  • South Australian Council of Social Services CEO Ross Womersley
  • University of South Australia Centre for Workplace Excellence Professor Carol Kulik
  • Working Women’s Centre SA Director Abbey Kendall
  • Vice President (Women), SA Unions Natasha Brown
  • Remuneration Tribunal SA President Matthew O’Callaghan
  • Equal Opportunity Commissioner SA Jodeen Carney
  • Commissioner for Public Sector Employment Erma Ranieri
  • Office for Women Director Dr Sanjugta Vas Dev(ex-officio)
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