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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 October 2021) . . Page.. 2799 ..


There must also be recognition that the gender pay gap does not just affect those who identify as male or female, but non-binary and gender diverse people are also affected by the gender pay gap. There is not a lot of data on this, so I wonder what steps may be taken to find out more about what the situation is for this cohort. This motion calls on data to be collected on women from diverse groups who are often more disadvantaged, and this is very important, as I have said. But we could also think about greater understanding of how gender diverse people experience the pay gap. Like women, they often experience disadvantages in the workforce. In order to better solve these issues, it is vital to understand what those issues are.

Nevertheless, this motion requests an important expansion of data collection, which I hope will assist in better understanding the issues surrounding the gender pay gap and inevitably moving towards closing the gender pay gap. You cannot fix it if you do not know what you are trying to fix, if you are not measuring it and collecting data, so reporting is important. That is why the Canberra Liberals are pleased to support Ms Orr’s motion today.

MS CLAY (Ginninderra) (3.28): I am pleased to support Ms Orr’s motion, too. This motion requires the ACT government to keep better data on the gender pay gap. This data is really important because you cannot fix what you cannot see. That is why the Greens asked to include some extra data in this motion, and I am really pleased to see that we will be getting future methods that will collect intersectional data on women in diverse groups. We need to make sure that we are considering those who are twice vulnerable—Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, culturally and linguistically diverse women, and women with a disability. We will also be getting future data on how women’s pay is impacted by part-time and casual working arrangements.

We know the gender gap is there; this motion makes it really clear. The gender pay gap in the ACT is 7.9 per cent. This is better than the national gender pay gap, but it still does not look like equality to me and it does not draw attention to the fact that women are much more likely than men to be accessing flexible work or part-time hours. Women work fewer hours due to caring responsibilities. Nationally, if those reduced hours were included in the calculation the gender pay gap would be over 30 per cent. I do not know what it is in the ACT because we do not yet report on it.

In CMTEDD almost 85 per cent of part-time employees are women. Part-time hours and flexible work are fantastic, and it is crucially important that our employees have access to that. I have worked flexible hours for most of my career, but in practice many women take on fewer hours not because they choose to but because they have higher caring responsibilities than men.

That has been particularly true during COVID and remote schooling. This means that women’s take-home pay, the dollars actually going into their accounts each fortnight, is much less than our standardised data shows. This also has implications for superannuation. Thanks to the wonder of compounding interest, women are penalised twice—once when they earn less money to take time off to care for their families and once again when they retire and find they have 47 per cent less superannuation than men.


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