THE GENDER PAY GAP IN STEM
All over the world, working women are paid less than working men, a phenomenon known as the gender pay gap.
In Australia, the gender pay gap in 2021 is sitting at 14.2%. ABS data showed average weekly earnings for full-time adult men grew by 1.8 per cent to $1,837 in the six months to May 2021, while for full-time women it increased by just 0.9 per cent to $1,575. Every week, women will take home $262.00 on average less than men. That’s over $13,000 a year. However in STEM, the latest figures show the gender pay gap is even wider at 24.4%. And rather than getting better, it’s getting worse.
So why are women getting paid so much less in STEM? Bias in hiring and pay decisions and mothers’ greater time out STEM workplaces which impact career progression and opportunities for higher paying roles all contribute. Covid-19 has accentuated the pay gap in STEM laying bare the higher rates of precarious employment in STEM for women.
Gender is not the only factor influencing pay. Race, socio-economic status, sexuality, disability and age all influence the gender pay gap. For instance, in the US, this study found that the gender pay gap between all men and women was 19.9%, but rose to 34.7 for black women and 38.4 for Hispanic women.
Understanding these additional factors in what’s called an intersectional approach will help paint a truer picture of the complex pay gap in STEM and beyond. For more about the gender pay gap across all industries in Australia click see this fact sheet.
And for a humourous look at the equal pay problem – Hannah and Eliza Reilly reckon Aussie women should #LeaveAt343, in this clip from Growing up Gracefully (2017).