THE gender pay gap has widened in Tasmania, with women increasingly earning less than men.
Female Tasmanian full-time workers are paid $173.60 less weekly on average than males, Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show.
Between November 2012 and November 2015, a full-time male Tasmanian worker’s wage grew $110 on average.
A full-time female’s earnings increased $51.10 on average over the same period.
Women earned only 87 per cent of the men’s average income figure in November 2015, down from 91 per cent in the same month during 2012.
Tasmanian Council of Social Service chief executive Kym Goodes said several factors caused the pay difference, including increasingly casualised workforces and underemployment in industries that women traditionally worked in.
“There is an accumulated effect from these factors,” she said.
“For older women, the longer term impact of a working life on a lower income with large amounts of time spent caring for others impacts on their ability to accumulate superannuation.”
Gendered job insecurity contributed to unstable housing arrangements, Shelter Tasmania chief executive Pattie Chugg said.
“Particularly women are reliant on either part-time wages or salary or parenting payments, so in just that economic basis they have less money in general than men,’’ Ms Chugg said.
‘’The lower your income, the more at risk you are,’’ she said.
Kym Goodes said TasCOSS was now seeing an increase of women in their 50s and 60s living in poverty, and experiencing homelessness.
“A guaranteed minimum income is emerging internationally as a less costly [to administer] and more equitable way of helping people on low incomes.”
Minister for Women Jacquie Petrusma said the government “has done considerable work in a number of the priority areas in addition to the initiatives in the Tasmanian Women’s Plan (2013-18)”.
However, she did not clarify which initiatives specifically had been implemented.
“Equal participation of women is critical to reducing economic disadvantage, enhancing economic growth and ensuring democratic governance,” Ms Petrusma said.
Ms Petrusma said initiatives the government implemented to assist women included “the release of the Family Violence Action Plan, Safe Homes, Safe Families, as well as the recent Affordable Housing Strategy, which is aimed at increasing the number of houses for vulnerable Tasmanians, including women”.
Labor’s spokesperson for women Lara Giddings said the government referring to non-gender specific reforms, including My Education, in the Tasmanian Women’s Plan progress report was “not sufficient”.
“They do not relate to the issues the Tasmanian Women’s Plan exposed as requiring attention,” Ms Giddings said.