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Gender Gap A Priority For New EEO Commissioner

12 March 2002

The growing gender pay gap must be the first priority of the new EEO Commissioner, just as soon as someone is appointed to that position, Green Party Women's spokesperson Sue Kedgley said today.

Ms Kedgley said the EEO Commissioner should immediately conduct pay audits and research into why the pay gap between men and women continues to widen.

"I'm shocked that new census data released today reveals that women languish more than $10,000 behind men," she said.

"Late last year the Green Party convinced the Government to include pay equity in the functions of the EEO Commissioner, a position established by the Human Rights Amendment Bill.

"One of the first jobs of the new Commissioner must be to find out why the situation for women is getting worse, and put forward some strategies to improve it.

"For years women have been told that higher education would increase their earnings and narrow the pay equity gap. However recent research demonstrates that this is wishful thinking - in fact more educated a woman is, the bigger the pay gap.

"A significant proportion of the gap is nothing other than structural discrimination," said Ms Kedgley.


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