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Gender equality in work and economic security

The gender pay gap is real. Find out what we're doing to close the gap and improve economic security for women.

Gender inequality affects all Victorians. It influences what we choose to study, the jobs we do, how we share unpaid work at home and our economic security. 

Gender inequality at work begins at school

  • Children in primary school already define jobs as belonging to ‘boys’ or ‘girls’. 
  • In high school, girls are more likely than boys to opt out of intensive maths. This prevents them from pursuing further study in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
  • Women are less likely to pursue careers in STEM, construction, finance and trades.
  • Men are less likely to pursue careers in nursing, early childhood education, and aged and disability care. 

Gender inequality means women are paid less than men

The gender pay gap is influenced by a number of factors:

  • lack of women in senior leadership positions
  • discrimination in hiring and pay decisions
  • lack of flexible work and affordable child care
  • over-representation of migrant and refugee women in low paid and insecure work 
  • barriers to employment for single mothers, women with a disability and women from culturally diverse backgrounds 
  • sexism, sexual harassment, bullying and workplace violence against women.

Women do most of the unpaid work 

Women do more than twice the amount of unpaid work in the home than men. This can include caring for children, the elderly and other family members. It can include cleaning, cooking, transportation and child care. In order to juggle this unpaid work with paid work, women are far more likely than men to be in low-paid, insecure or casual work.

Being paid less – or not at all – means that women have less money in their superannuation. This puts older women at greater risk of poverty and homelessness than men.

Improving economic security for women

To achieve gender equality we need to close the gender pay gap. We can do this by increasing the representation of women in senior leadership roles and ensuring safe and respectful workplaces. 

An important part of promoting gender equality at work is allowing flexible work practices. This includes supporting men as carers and parents and making flexible work ok for them too. 

More women are becoming entrepreneurs. Supporting women  as business owners is one way we can improve their economic security. This is especially true for newly arrived migrant and refugee women, women in rural and regional areas and women with disabilities. 

Reviewed 04 December 2018