We need to talk about 3.56pm.
At first glance, it’s just another time in the day, right? One minute in 1,440 of them that pass by with every full rotation of the Earth.
But 3.56pm isn’t any ordinary time.
It’s the time at which Australian women, mathematically, start working for their employers for free each day while the wage counter keeps ticking over for their male counterparts.
Aware Super has crunched the numbers and established that’s the time when women effectively stop getting paid.
The finding is based on a 9-5 workday and the most recent Workplace Gender Equality Agency pay-gap analysis, showing Australian women working full-time can expect to earn 13.3% less than their male colleagues in the same roles.
Almost a quarter of the way through the 21st Century, it’s a shameful state of affairs.
As the Federal Minister for Women, Senator Katy Gallagher, has noted, Australia’s gender pay gap means women are effectively losing out on $51.8 billion in pay every year. To put that another way, they’re doing $51.8 billion worth of work for their employers every year for free.
Aware Super, which has more than 700,000 women among its 1.1 million members, launched a campaign this month – coinciding with International Women’s Day – to heighten awareness of the issue.
It has designated 3.56pm as Pay Gap O’Clock, in the great tradition of Wine Time or Beer O’Clock.
Aware Super CEO Deanne Stewart, a Pay Equity Ambassador at WGEA, says it’s critical employers across both the public and private sectors take more steps to close the pay gap.