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Equal pay, equal punishment, equal media representation

18 July 2014

gender pay gap

There is no denying that life for women and girls has changed, sometimes for the better, sometimes not.

Recent debate sparked by conservative education academic Kevin Donnelly around having “no problem” with corporal punishment in schools raises the spectre of gender equality in a very different way. Dr Donnelly has been appointed to review the national schools curriculum by the Federal Government.

If our schools are working to create gender equality through education, how would corporal punishment sit within that? Would it be applied equally to girls as boys? If not, why not? If the school system’s aim is to eradicate bullying and the inequality inherent within bullying behaviours (and by all intents and purposes that would appear to be the case), how does the notion of corporal punishment fit within that scheme?

With the G20 almost upon our shores, ensuring the gender lens is out and polished is important, no more so than when it comes to economic representation of women. (The above graphic representation from a US source highlighting gender pay inequity is a case in point.)

In a recent statement from Oxfam, using various research statistics it has been able to gather, the NFP points out that even in developed countries gender equality still has a way to go:

Equal pay for equal work

As an Australian woman you are still 75 years behind on pay equality.

The monetary value of unpaid care work (and let’s face it, that is mainly women’s role) is estimated at anything from 10 percent to over 50 percent of GDP. An additional 20–60 percent of GDP would be added if the hidden contribution of unpaid work was recognized and valued. (That’s all the work women do with the kids, older parents, in the home, at the tuckshop…)

If women’s paid employment rates were the same as men’s, the USA’s GDP would increase by nine percent.

The 2012 ‘World Development Report: Gender Equality and Development’ argues that “gender equality is a core development objective in its own right… and smart economics. Greater gender equality can enhance productivity, improve development outcomes for the next generation, and make institutions more representative.”

The Report goes on to focus on four areas for work: “(i) reducing excess female mortality and closing education gaps where they remain, (ii) improving access to economic opportunities for women (iii) increasing women's voice and agency in the household and in society and (iv) limiting the reproduction of gender inequality across generations”.

Westpac and diversity

Westpac set a target to increase the percentage of women in leadership roles in the organisation from 33 percent to 40 percent by 2014, recognising the organisation would benefit from a more diverse pool of talent. The target was achieved two years ahead of schedule and the organisation has now set an aspirational target of 50 percent female representation within leadership roles by 2017.

Media representation and women

2013 03 08 Geena Davis Speaking

In one of our recent Ruby pieces we looked at the portrayal and inclusion of women in media on every level through the eyes of two US-based organisations: The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, founded by actress Geena Davis (above), and the Women’s Media Center, founded by actress and activist Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan, and Gloria Steinem (the feminist, author and activist who turns 80 this year).

It didn't take the Geena Davis Institute much to uncover this fact:

  • Females are also underrepresented behind the camera. Across 1,565 content creators, only 7% of directors, 13% of writers, and 20% of producers are female. This translates to 4.8 males working behind-the-scenes to every one female.

The information collected by these two organisations would make a movie. In fact it has:


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