Susan Howland, president of the Clarence Valley Women's Inc, says women need to continue campaigning for equal pay. The war is not yet won.
Susan Howland, president of the Clarence Valley Women's Inc, says women need to continue campaigning for equal pay. The war is not yet won. Lynne Mowbray

Clarence Valley women do it tough: gender pay-gap at 18.8%

WOMEN in the Clarence Valley are doing it tough compared with their male counterparts, according to new ABS statistics that reveal the gender pay-gap has risen to 18.8%.

With the pay-gap increasing and a lack of available jobs in rural areas, Clarence Valley Women's Incorporated (CVWI) president Susan Howland has hit out at women who think the fight for equality is won.

"We think it's a wake-up call for women who think the battle for equality has been won," Ms Howland said. "A lot of young women think there is no need to continue campaigning for equal rights; they think the battle is won, but these statistics show that it isn't."

OPINION: Gender pay-gap widening, by The DEX reporter, Marco Magasic.

According to Ms Howland, women in rural centres such as the Clarence Valley will be hit harder by pay inequality due to the lack of jobs and access to services such as childcare.

"In rural areas access to employment is much harder than suburban centres," she said.

"The types of work that are available to women in the country is very low paid work.

"In rural areas it is worse for women because of a lack of childcare which compounds the issues of employment.

"There is a lack of services supporting women."

Clarence Valley councillor and local business woman Sue Hughes disagrees, saying that in the Clarence Valley the gender pay gap would be less than the national average due to the lack of executive positions in rural areas.

"There is no gender difference or inequity in our salaries in the industry in which I work, and I think this is reflected across the Clarence Valley," she said.

"However, I do understand that in more senior/executive roles that there is a variance between female and male executives, but mainly in the financial, mining and communication industries, typically in capital or major cities and not in small regions such as the Clarence Valley."

With the pay-gap up to 18.8%, men are likely to earn almost $300 more than women each week.



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