Five Australian men share their thoughts on the gender pay gap

Even in 2021, wage inequality is still a contentious and unresolved issue.

In a culture of money with discussions taboo, it is difficult to discern the true seriousness of the gender pay gap in Australia.

But despite the facts being laid bare, many Australians still argue that the pay gap is a “myth” or a “lie”.

The gender pay gap became glaring when the Agency for Professional Gender Equality released its latest pay gap data — revealing that, on average, women earn nearly $26,000 less than men.

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We ask five men about their views on the gender pay gap. (Getty)

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Men are also twice as likely to be paid more than their female colleagues, the report says.

We often hear women passionately advocating for equal pay and bridging the ‘gap’ – but what do Australian men think?

Here, 9Honey talks to five men from different industries about their thoughts on gender pay inequality and what steps they could take to help close the gap.

Name: Lucas*

Industry: Non-profit

“I think a lot of the blame lies with individual industries and organizations that refuse, for whatever reason, to look at the books and say, ‘something’s wrong here,'” Lucas told 9Honey.

“You could also say that the ‘it’s none of my business’ philosophy allows the gap to stay, and even widen.”

As claims that the gender pay gap is a “myth” bounce around the internet’s echo chamber, Lucas says he doesn’t know of any male friends or colleagues who share the sentiment.

Giving up fair compensation for their work is one of the many sacrifices they must make to maintain this

“While I don’t think I personally know anyone who publicly endorses this theory, it sounds like a classic status quo defense or diversion,” he says. “Given that salary and compensation is a bit of a taboo subject, it’s easy to see how people could be misled into thinking the gap isn’t as wide as it is.”

Lucas has no power over pay decisions at his job, but he knows that by not speaking up if he knows of a gender pay gap, it could inadvertently defeat the cause. .

“Assuming it’s none of my business that my colleague gets equal pay for equal work is probably a big part of why the problem exists,” he adds.

It has been reported that women earn an average of $26,000 less than men. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

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Name: Phil

Industry: Medication

Phil, who works as a doctor in Australia, says the pay gap in his industry is not as simple as different salaries.

He tells 9Honey it stems from a culture of “discouraging” employees from asking for overtime, money they’ve fairly earned but feel uncomfortable asking for.

“For physicians in the hospital system, even though our hourly pay is the same, there is a culture that discourages asking for overtime,” says Phil.

“Overtime claims are reviewed before they are paid, and I have noticed that many of my female colleagues are reluctant to submit claims because they think it will give them a bad image, i.e. say they don’t work hard enough.”

During the pandemic, Phil says this pay issue has only gotten worse, especially with female doctors of color.

“It becomes a much bigger issue with COVID, where staffing shortages are forcing everyone to work overtime and forgo breaks due to workload,” he says.

“Systemically, I think female physicians, especially those of color, are unfairly scrutinized far more than their male counterparts, both by patients and supervisors, and this creates a situation where female physicians have to spend far more time and effort to come across as a team player and approachable.

“Giving up fair pay for their work is one of the many sacrifices they have to make to maintain that.”

Phil says gender pay inequality is rife in the healthcare industry. (Getty)

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Phil explains that the healthcare recruitment and training system is also designed to disadvantage women, especially working mothers.

“Junior doctors are usually hired on 6 to 12 month contracts and change hospitals every year,” he says.

“Maternity leave for doctors is a minefield – the employer will pay your normal salary during maternity leave, but only for the duration of your contract – after this maternity leave is paid by the government at the level of the minimum wage.”

“Financially, having a baby during residency/specialty training is a major success. Medical recruitment is also quite rigid and takes place at the same time each year. If you miss recruitment season due to maternity leave , you have to wait a year for it to come back.”

The biggest problem is that people don’t care about mentoring and teaching people to fight for what they’re worth

Name: Elijah*

Industry: Finance

Elijah works in the finance industry, which is typically male-dominated, and says the blame should never lie with women who aren’t “assertive” enough to demand more money.

“The biggest problem, in my opinion, is that people don’t care about mentoring and teaching people to fight for what they’re worth,” says Elijah.

“I think two things are driving this rationalization and a lack of exposure to salary negotiations. On the first point, people like to think they’re getting paid what they’re worth – people will often rationalize the reasons for a higher or lower salary.

“On the second, a lot of people have never had to negotiate a salary before. For a lot of people, they’re employed in fixed-wage industries.”

The “glass ceiling” also plays a major role in reducing women’s average wages and their future earning potential, Elijah adds.

“Listed companies often talk about board diversity as a problem. Boards without it say, ‘we really looked for diversity and there’s no qualified person available.’ is generally crap, but the bottom line is that companies aren’t I don’t make sure women are exposed to various middle management positions before of course there’s no one qualified for these higher-paying positions,” he explains.

“Even in the event that they do find someone to fill a position on the board of directors, there is probably an element of impostor syndrome to contend with due to this lack of mentorship and management experience. intermediate.”

woman hand putting money coin in piggy bank for saving money and financial concept.
Women are often criticized for not being assertive enough when it comes to salary negotiations. (Getty Images/EyeEm)

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Name: joseph

Industry: PR

Joseph works in an industry heavily populated by women in public relations, but has a strong opinion on why the gender pay gap persists.

He says the narrative needs to move from individuals versus corporations to everyone versus corporations in order to make the case for equal pay.

“I think greater transparency is a step towards holding companies accountable for the pay gap. I think there are other things at play as well, including unequal representation at all pay levels in a women’s and POC organization,” Joseph told 9Honey.

“Usually the onus is on the individual to advocate for better pay, but knowing what the going rate was would give women more confidence to ask for more in my opinion.”

Joseph knows that when a woman tries to renegotiate her salary, it can be perceived as a “complaint” or even an ingratitude.

“Negotiating can be seen as a complaint even if it’s just articulating what they deserve to get for their contribution,” he adds.

The men agree that the gender pay gap is real and a cultural problem in Australia. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

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Industry: Science

Ryan agrees that the pay gap is a historic problem that unfortunately hasn’t improved since women were empowered to move up the career ladder.

He says the inaction of the powers that be is to blame.

“I think the inaction of corporate directors and HR has allowed it to go unnoticed (they see all the paychecks and could easily determine the pay gaps,” Ryan says.

“For someone of the opposite sex performing the same role as you within a company, it’s not really polite to go and ask them how much money they make. And the company is probably not going to disclose it, so I think since the gap is real, a lot of the people it affects don’t even know they’re disadvantaged.”

Ryan says the problem of ignoring pay inequality or labeling it a “myth” is rooted in a general apathy toward advocacy.

“In the current climate, there are so many issues that the public is continually bombarded with. Climate change, racism, homophobia, sexual assault. I think with such pressing issues (and not that the (gender gap is not something to pursue vigorously) people are overwhelmed with all the problems we face as a society,” he says.

“It may be easier for someone to dismiss it as a myth rather than confront it directly. I also think that some who see it as a myth say it from a misogynistic point of view, but perhaps less than the above.”

Ryan admits he hasn’t publicly advocated against the pay gap, but knows he can make small changes in his own career to help the cause.

“Changing that in the workforce is a systemic issue, and while I believe in equal pay, I’m probably not going to picket on my weekends,” he adds.

“That being said, if I noticed that a woman in the same position as me or someone else in my workplace was being paid less, I would definitely tell my employers.”

*Names have been changed

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