‘Hell To Pay’ If Gender Equity Activists Get Their Way

Written by:
18 March 2024
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Originally Appeared In

This article was originally published in The Spectator Australia on or about 18 March 2024 and was written by the author in their capacity as a contributor for that publication. 

It has been republished on the IPA website with permission. The views expressed are those of the author alone.

If we want to reach for the stars, then it will be our best and brightest – not virtue signalling – that gets us there. It’s not rocket science.

Or is it? Those working at Monash University’s recently launched National Indigenous Space Academy might disagree. Lauded as a world first, the program paves the way for First Nations STEM students to intern at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the United States.

Every year, like clockwork, the grievance industry works itself into a righteous fury over the annual Employer Census results compiled by the Workplace Gender Equity Agency (WGEA).

English Playwright William Congreve’s 17th Century line, ‘hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’ serves as an apt description of the confected outrage of the activist class to the gender pay gap, despite the figures failing to account for a woman’s vocational choice.

WGEA’s 2023 numbers say Australia’s total renumeration average gender pay gap is 21.7 per cent. This means on average women earn 78 cents for every one dollar a man makes and over the course of a year that difference adds up to $26,393. Cue the hysterics.

Jackie O Henderson from KIIS FM did not disappoint – staging a walk-off with other female staff after learning her station has the highest gender pay gap among all Australian radio networks.

‘Are you freaking joking?’ Jackie O ranted, after learning series producer Peter Deppeler’s salary was double that of a female colleague. ‘Why is Peter getting that much money? I’m so angry about that, it makes my blood boil.’ Conveniently, Deppeler’s and his female colleague’s roles and levels of seniority were left out of the conversation.

Jackie O also failed to recall that she and her on-air partner Kyle Sandilands earn the same amount, having recently signed a decade-long $200 million deal with the network. Neither did she mention that KIIS FM is below the national average when it comes to pay disparity as WGEA determines it.

A failure to mention these key details is characteristic of the broader grievance industry which routinely fails to address the role of ‘choice’ in the gender pay gap.

The WGEA’s figures fail to account for the fact that women will often make different choices from men – preferring to work fewer hours and take roles in different industries. For example, women tend to dominate in health care, social assistance, and education while men are more likely to work in finance, construction, and mining.

Women often prioritise flexibility over income. This means they are less likely to take the sort of high-paid jobs that require extensive overtime and travel.

Given the role of choice, the WGEA’s gender pay gap exercise likely has less to do with equality of pay than with pushing a Woke agenda in the workplace. It serves an ideological rather than a practical purpose, being used as a front by some to force quotas and more regulation on an already complex and bureaucratic business system.

The gender equality movement has been turned on its head since it first began in the mid-1800s.

Today, it purports to help women and solve perceived injustices in the workplace but it is having the opposite effect – limiting flexibility and choice for women and punishing men in the process. This is hurting those millions of women who rely on a flexible working arrangement to make ends meet while balancing duties in the home.

There could be ‘hell to pay’ if the activists have their way, as the modern activist’s gender equity vision for workplace reform seeks to benefit the very few at the top while making things harder for mainstream Australian women.

And Australians are already paying for it. WGEA is one of many government agencies that pump out statistics and information that offer little in the way of public utility. It is another example of how hard-working Australians with families to feed are forced to foot the bill for an agency that does not serve their interests or needs.

Are we to believe that a woman’s success is measured by her salary? The implication of these figures suggests businesses have a big structural inequality problem and encourages women to think the system is stacked against them. Outrage pantomime demonstrates how these figures can result in anger and division – despite the highly dubious model used to produce them, and the fact that many women successfully climb the greasy poll of success in cut-throat industries.

The gender pay gap speaks to the human condition. It acknowledges that men and women are different and often place value on different things. Some disparity is healthy; indeed it suggests choice for women today is still alive. This, despite growing economic pressure that is removing the capacity to choose and forcing women to become full-time income earners.

If the gap continues to close over the coming years, we must ask ourselves whether this leaves us better or worse off as a nation. And if it were to ever close completely, does anyone really believe it would signal the end of claims of gender discrimination by activists in the political class?

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This article was original published in The Australian Financial Review and was written by the author in their capacity as a contributor for that publication. It has been republished on the IPA website with permission. The views expressed are those of the author alone.

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