September 14, 2012 by Ilene H. Lang
Sweeping changes are afoot down under. Once passed, Australia’s Workplace Gender Equality Act will compel companies to report the gender composition of their boards and share salary data on their women and men employees. The law also targets gender discrimination in relation to family and caring responsibilities. For more news about this exciting legislation, plus the latest on the fight for gender equality worldwide, check out today’s C This.
Accountability in Australia
Among other features, Australia’s Workplace Gender Equality Act aims to foster greater equality in the workplace by focusing on fair pay. The act will require all businesses with more than 100 staff to report on how many women and men they employ and whether they pay them the same amount. Australian women, on average, earn 82.5 cents for every dollar earned by Australian men. Julie Collins, the Minister for the Status of Women, said she hoped the legislation would promote “true gender equality.”
The Quota Option
While Australia debates legislation on mandatory reporting of pay scales and boardroom gender ratios, the European Union is considering new laws that would require 40 percent of a company’s directors to be women. Some critics argue that voluntary targets should be given more time before mandatory quotas take effect, while others support the legislation, pointing to research from Germany showing that firm performance spikes when women’s board representation hits 40 percent.
United States Pay Gap Stalled
Sometimes no news is bad news. The United States Census Bureau recently reported that the gender pay gap remains unchanged: women still earn about 77 cents for every male dollar. “We’re not making any real progress—the gender wage gap essentially has not budged for a decade,” said Linda D. Hallman, the executive director of the American Association of University Women. “And the problem is worse for African-American women and Latinas.”
Just how skewed is the gender balance in UK newsrooms? The Daily Star’s Dawn Neesom is now the only female editor of a national newspaper in the UK. In this article—the first in a series on women's byline counts in the UK national press—researchers find that men dominate authorship of articles and opinion pieces. For example, men write about 74 percent of the op-eds in the UK (compared to 80 percent in the United States).
The Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) predicts that more than 100,000 IT jobs will be created in the next five years in Canada. How best to plug into this emerging field? According to some of the top women in Canadian IT, you should take calculated risks, find someone to champion your success, and find the right environment to grow. Read: “Ready to Take the Next Big Step in IT?” Financial Post, 9/10/12