Joondalup and Belmont businesswomen host Equal Pay Day event

Guests at the Equal Pay Day event at Parliament House.
Guests at the Equal Pay Day event at Parliament House.

THE national gender pay gap has reached its lowest level in 20 years at 14.6 per cent, according to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.

However, in WA the gender pay gap remains significantly higher at 22.4 per cent.

Joondalup MLA Emily Hamilton and Belmont MLA Cassie Rowe recently co-hosted an Equal Pay Day event at Parliament House with the Joondalup and Belmont Business and Professional Women’s organisations.

“As a single mother with school aged children, I know first-hand the many barriers women face in gaining equality in the workplace,” Ms Hamilton said.

Joondalup MLA Emily Hamilton, Belmont MLA Cassie Rowe, BPW Joondalup member Sandra Cook, BPW president Audrey Tooze and Women’s Interests Minister Simone McGurk.

“At the event I noted the barriers of access to childcare for women working in industries with unconventional working hours.

“My personal experience in Parliament is just one example but the same could be said for shift-workers, hospitality workers and many others.

“At the beginning of my career I worked two days a week and had two young children in daycare.

“The cost was considerable and made me think very carefully about continuing to work given I was taking home only a small amount of money once the childcare costs were accounted for.

“The issue of gender equity should not be a gendered conversation, rather the community as a whole need to be looking at ways to ensure that we close the gap.”

Women’s Interests Minister Simone McGurk was the guest speaker, acknowledging that while the gender pay gap is a big issue, there are some simple solutions that can be implemented to work towards gender equity in the workplace.

She said the State Government had committed to increasing the number of women appointed to government boards and committees to 50 per cent by the end of 2019 and increasing the proportion of women in the Senior Executive Service.

This year’s Equal Pay Day event focused on the white paper titled Defining the Concept of Economic Security for Women.

BPW Joondalup member Sandra Cook discussed how the paper brought together research and analysis of specific issues that feed into the overarching issues of economic and financial security for women.