NEWS AND INSIGHTS UPDATE:
The Workplace Gender Equality act is before the Australian Senate this week. If enacted, the law will require all businesses with more than 100 employees to report how many men and women they employ and whether male and female employees are paid the same amount.
Clay Lucas of The Sydney Morning Herald shares some insights into the law from Helen Conway of the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency:
”Women are paid less, they aren’t as prominent in leadership positions,” Conway said. ”If a woman takes a year of maternity leave, when she returns to work she will suffer a 5 per cent drop in salary if you convert it to an hourly rate.”
Men equally now wanted to do more caring in the home when they had young children, she said, but they feared asking for this because of being similarly disadvantaged when they returned to work. Ms Conway said she hoped the act ”normalized” men asking for flexible conditions.
”In most workplaces you see a male norm and female deviations from that norm, and people say, ‘We have to do something for the women’, so they set up some special arrangements for them to care for the kids. It’s not mainstreamed.”
If men took up flexible work practices, it would look more normal, she said. ”Of course, men don’t do it because they know they will suffer disadvantage to their career if they do.”