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MEDIA RELEASE - LOCAL WOMEN CONTINUE TO EXPERIENCE ISSUES WITH STIGMA AND INEQUALITY AS THE GENDER PAY GAP REMAINS RELEVANT

October 06, 2017

At 16%, the gender pay gap remains a feature of national conversation, with particular relevance to industries in Longman where women are predominantly employed, such as retail. The Shadow Minister for Women, the Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, and the Member for Longman, Susan Lamb MP, held discussions today with local women and stakeholders, inquiring into the social stigma that is restricting the progress of women’s rights in Australia.

Local businesswoman and owner of Live Music Promotions, Sammie Lee Milgate, is one woman that has struggled with the unfortunate stigma that comes with being a woman in a male dominated industry.

“The music industry is male dominated; I’ve had men purposely try and cut me out of the industry because of my gender.”

“I’ve often had men in the [music] industry try and devalue my skill and ability.”

With the existence of institutional discrimination, such as the gender pay gap, Ms Milgate believes that government policy plays a key role in reinforcing this stigma.

“As an employer, I wouldn’t feel right paying a woman less than a man; the same principle applies to our policy makers who can choose to either restrict or widen the gender pay gap.” she said.

With the devastating cuts to penalty rates sweeping through on July 02, progress made in terms of pay equity has taken an unfortunate backward step.

Tanya Plibersek said “For decades, women have campaigned tirelessly, slowly chipping away at the gender pay gap only to have their progress taken back with an assault on their take-home pay.”

“Women are disproportionately affected by cuts to penalty rates, making up 57% of hospitality workers; 57% of food works; 62% of retail workers; and 85% of pharmaceutical and cosmetic goods retail employees.” Ms Plibersek said.

Susan Lamb added “Here in Longman, there are 4517 women working in retail, making it the second highest industry that women depend on to make a living and support their families.”

“Labor is committed to finally eradicating the gender pay gap, which is why we’ll reverse the cuts to penalty rates if we win the next election.” Ms Lamb concluded.

As part of Labor’s community consultation efforts, ‘Setting the Agenda’ will continue to investigate the progress, barriers and direction of women’s rights across the nation. Members of the community are encouraged to complete the Setting the Agenda survey, with the results informing Labor’s policy development on gender equality.

13 JULY 2017

WE'LL PUT PEOPLE FIRST