Tuesday September 3 was ‘Equal Pay Day’; a reminder of the 64 extra days per year a woman must work for her pay to equal that of a man.

The calculation for the date is based on statistics for the current gender gap in pay rates – sitting at 17.5%. That figure means the average full-time woman earns $266.20 less each week than the average full-time working man.

Director of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) Helen Conway says the reasons for the pay disparity are complex and often rooted in prejudice.

“People often ask, ‘does this mean employers pay women less than men for doing the exact same job?’ While that may be true in some instances, the issue is more complicated,” said Conway.

“An organisation may pay women and men doing the same jobs the same amounts, but have an organisation-wide gender pay gap because women are under-represented in management, and over-represented in lower-paid roles.”

Reforms underway will hopefully bring about change in the form of equity between sexes at work, with new legislation from next year requiring non-public sector employers with 100 or more staff to report on remuneration data, broken down by gender.

They will also have to report on the nature of any remuneration policy in place, and whether it has specific gender pay equity objectives built-in.

The new laws will at the very least force employers to face the gap in gender equality in a specific and quantified form, it is also hoped that companies will be able to benchmark their level of equality against each other.

“If employers committed to addressing the gender pay gap at an occupational and organisational level, we could expect to see some reduction in the national gender pay gap which would result in greater economic security for women during their working lives and in retirement,” Conway said.

“Employers will benefit by attracting and retaining talented staff, reducing their turnover and accessing a larger pool of talent.”

As part of Equal Pay Day the WGEA has gathered a series of 10 Youtube videos on the subject