Equal Pay – 51 years behind schedule

We have just discovered this article from the 1958 Public Service Journal which reports that equal pay will be fully achieved in three years. The Equal Pay Act actually took 14 years to be passed in 1972.

51 years after the deadline in the journal we are still waiting for equal pay to be fully achieved. Imagine all that back pay.

Have a read here of our on-going work on achieving equal pay and pay equity.

Equal pay 1958 article

Equal pay 1958 Public Service Journal article

8 thoughts on “Equal Pay – 51 years behind schedule

  1. Well actually, that article was of course about equal pay in the public service – which was achieved, thanks to the sterling efforts of women such as Margaret Long, in 1960, though the private sector took another 12 years. The original law is now pretty much a dead letter, so that even equal pay for equal work is far from guaranteed.

  2. Jan says “51 years after the deadline in the journal we are still waiting for equal pay to be fully achieved. Imagine all that back pay.”

    It is a silly arguement that there should be equal pay between genders when many aspects are never factored in –

    – in general, men in their 50s and 60s are more qualified than women. While qualifications are more equal among genders in young generations, simply passing a law doesn’t suddenly make all older unqualified women qualified.

    – in general, men have more experience in their careers than women. Not many have years off to have and raise children.

    – in general, women with child rearing responsibilities will often take part time jobs for many years, even if they are lower skilled and paid jobs than their previous career.

    – with a large break away from their careers for child raising, many women never ever get back to their original higher paying careers.

    There should definitely be equal pay amoung genders for equal qualifications and equal experience.

    But we don’t have equal experience and we don’t yet have equal qualifications.

    Equal qualifications right through the workforce up to retirement age is probably still 2-3 decades away.

    And we will NEVER EVER have equal work experience among genders if women take time off to look after their children.

  3. THanks Photonz, That’s what we’re told.
    But why then are women graduates paid on average $4,500 less than a man within four years of graduating.
    And why is the woman security guard, I just heard about yesterday, getting paid $3 per hour less than her male colleagues despite having more industry experience than at least one of them?

  4. And why is the woman security guard, I just heard about yesterday, getting paid $3 per hour less than her male colleagues despite having more industry experience than at least one of them

    Any number of simple reasons but I would suspect the main one being long service pay. Companies do reward loyalty in post compulsory union wage structures.

    She may have industry experience, but that is not the same as service experience with the one company.

    One really needs to ask all the pertinent questions. Maybe even levels of responsibilities within the company are a factor?

    As far as graduates are concerned, are we discussing the same qualified graduates or complaining a female arts student graduate is on less then a male graduate architect?

    One needs total evidence to get to see the correct picture.

  5. JL writes:

    But why then are women graduates paid on average $4,500 less than a man within four years of graduating.

    We know the answer (or at least, one answer) to that question. I’m astounded you claim not to know it. Heck, its even been written in this blog a few times. Do we have to do this again?

  6. You can use all of the excuses that you wish to use, but they are just that, excuses. I have never taken time off of work to have children, and had the same degree and experience as many of my former male colleagues, yet still made almost 25% less than they did. Which is completely unacceptable. Unfortunately, here in the United States we have the same struggles as women in New Zealand when it comes to fair pay.

  7. Jan asks “But why then are women graduates paid on average $4,500 less than a man within four years of graduating.”

    Are you comparing the SAME qualifications?

    Are male teachers or doctors with four years experience gettting paid $4500 less than their female counterparts?

    Jan asks “And why is the woman security guard, I just heard about yesterday, getting paid $3 per hour less than her male colleagues despite having more industry experience than at least one of them?”

    This is the sort of situation where there MAY be a case, and it’s worth looking at further, especially if all things are equal. However often things are not always equal.

    People may have the same qualifications and experience, but one may be far better at their job. I know people new at their job who are showing up some who have been there for years.

    And there are other differences. You may send a large male security guard to check factories at night by themselves, but think twice about sending a woman out all alone in the middle of the night checking deserted industrial areas.

  8. To be fair, the equal pay that the PSA was fighting for in 1958 was quite a different kettle of fish than the equal pay concerns of today. In 1958 there was legal discrimination against women in the workplace through things such as pay scales only open to men and so on.

    Now what we face today (in my opinion) boils down to the fact that workplaces are some times not fair, despite what the law says. For example, I have recently become aware of a case in which women were being deliberately overlooked in the selection process for a job. The reason was that the manager concerned did not want to take the risk that a woman might become pregnant and take maternity leave. Now it is totally illegal to discriminate for this reason, but practices such as this still occur and are unfortunately difficult to prove because the manager will just invent another “legitimate” reason to give the job to a man instead of a woman.

    So what is the solution? Maybe laws will help … but it is worth realising that there are already laws in place which should prevent unfair discrimination.

    When someone comes to me (I’m a union delegate in my work place) with an issue such as this, I ask if they are a union member. If so, I’ll fight 200% for them to get a fair deal. If not (and they won’t join), well tough luck, they can go and find another way to try and rectify their issue. Young university graduates often have this starry eyed vision of the workplace. They don’t think they could possibly be treated unfairly, and believe they can solve any problems on their own. Consequently do not take any actions to ensure they are protected in the event that shit happens. It’s a bit like taking out fire insurance for your house; you don’t expect it to burn down but you still pay just in case.

    Now obviously it is not ideal that discrimination and unfair treatment still occurs in the workplace, and in some cases the consequences are the sort of pay discrepancies we are hearing about. But that is how it is, and it is going to take societal change over many years to eliminate this sort of discrimination (and some may argue it will never be eliminated). But in the mean time, I would tell young employees to do something to help themselves … join the union, and we’ll look out for you. Otherwise, you’re on your own. I know it sounds harsh, but that’s reality.

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