The current gap in what men in leadership are paid compared to what women in leadership are paid in Australia is appalling. Even women dominated industries, like aged-care, child-care, health and community sectors, are lead overwhelmingly by men.
The Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) is a government agency dedicated to achieving greater gender equality in Australian workplaces. They report that “currently, Australia’s national gender pay gap is 15.3% and has hovered between 15% and 19% for the past two decades.” This means that currently in Australia in 2018 women are being paid 15.3% less than men for their average weekly full-time base salary earnings(1).
Australian women are over-represented as part-time workers in low-paid industries and in insecure work and continue to be underrepresented in leadership roles in the private and public sectors(2).”
There are several reasons for these standards, namely discrimination and bias in the hiring process and the fact that women dominated industries attract lower wages overall.
Sadly nurturing and caring roles and domestic work inside the home are also largely undervalued by society and grossly underpaid.
Instead, financial contribution to the household income and overall commercial value of a person has become the measuring stick of human value.
This lack of respect for the daily contributions of women to their homes and their families is reflected in our ever-increasing national family violence epidemic.
It’s no wonder Australian Human Rights Commission website states “It is estimated that violence against women and their children cost the Australian economy $22 billion in 2015-16” when discussing the importance of gender equality(3).
Gender equality in leadership positions makes good business sense and is better for our economy overall. Forbes states that this year “Women will control over $18 trillion in worldwide spending.”
So over 80% of all consumer purchases are made by women for products from industries lead by men.
This probably explains the excessive amount of objectifying of women across almost every industry with cringe-worthy tone-deaf marketing campaigns to sell pretty much anything from cars to technology, sporting events to gluesticks, roadside assistance and property to name a few.
Gender equality is about respect and it’s time to untangle the socially engineered disrespect of women and call out any platform where women are objectified.
A strong role model for Muslim women is our beloved Prophet Muhammed’s (peace be upon him) wife, Khadijah (RA.) who was not only his advisor, supporter and confidante, a nurturing caring wife, she was also an entrepreneur, an investor, a pioneer and a leader of her reputable tribe. Many Muslim women aspire to be like mother Khadijah (R.A).
Muslim women in Australia have much to contribute to the conversation on gender equality in decision-making positions. The misrepresented, under-reported Muslim women that are currently in leadership positions are best placed to become relatable ambassadors and advocates for gender equality amongst Muslim communities nationally and globally.
Giving these women platforms to share their stories is a powerful way to expel the engineered repetitive false narrative that Muslim women are oppressed.
Muslim women must be a part of the advocacy of gender equality in the workplace, in leadership positions and boards in a way that is non-tokenistic, inclusive and sustainable.
“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” (Noble Quran – 49:13)