Gender pay gap continues to narrow – but more needs to be done

Release Date: 
4 September 2017
Media release

Each year on Equal Pay Day we acknowledge the progress made towards bridging the gender pay gap and commit to continuing our efforts to ensure women are equal in the workforce.

Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, said it was encouraging that the gender pay gap narrowed further over the last twelve months, with latest figures showing it has fallen from 16.3 per cent to 15.3 per cent.

“The further reduction in the gender pay gap demonstrates the Turnbull Government’s policies to assist women breakdown barriers in the workforce are delivering results, yet, I remain acutely aware that more work needs to be done,” Minister Cash said.

In July 2017 the Turnbull Government launched Towards 2025: An Australian Government strategy to boost women’s workforce participation which outlined the government’s roadmap to reduce the gender participation gap by 25 per cent by 2025.

The Strategy details actions the Turnbull Government is taking to address many of the drivers of pay inequity in Australia, including for flexible work, childcare costs and early education.

“By boosting workforce participation of women we can further close the gender pay gap, raise living standards across the board and secure Australia’s future prosperity,” Minister Cash said.

The Turnbull Government is committed to making strategic investments to ensure Australian women are able to fully participate in work by;

  • Investing in our new child care and early learning reforms which are estimated to encourage more than 230,000 families increase their workforce participation;
  • Expanding the ParentsNext pre-employment program, which helps parents of young children to plan and prepare for work by connecting them with services in their local community;
  • Leading by example through the implementation of the Australian Public Service Gender Equality Strategy, requiring every agency to set targets for gender equality in leadership positions and boost gender equality more broadly;
  • Ensuring women have the skills and support they need to work in growth industries, by investing $13 million over five years in getting more women into science, technology, engineering and maths under the National Innovation and Science Agenda;
  • Setting a target of women holding 50 per cent of Government board positions overall and strengthening the BoardLinks programme;
  • Partnering with businesses to support women into leadership positions through scholarships provided by the Australian Institute of Company Directors; and
  • Shining the light on pay equity through the work of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.

Since the Coalition came to government in September 2013 there have been over 730,000 jobs created. Over the last twelve months alone, female employment has increased by 124,600 to a record high of 5,677,100.

“The latest jobs figures demonstrate the Turnbull Government’s strong economic plan is working and creating more opportunities for Australian women,” Minister Cash said.

“Every policy lever the Government has at its disposal is being utilised to promote growth, encourage investment and stimulate job creation which contributes to achieving our aim of closing the gender pay gap.”