Smaller gender pay gap for women with Catholic employers

gender pay gap

Women with Catholic employers are well-supported financially, with a smaller gender pay gap than their peers.

Released on 27 February, the first national Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) report also notes some say their employers could do more to uphold all their employees’ dignity.

The WGEA investigated about 5,000 companies, each employing more than 100 people, to determine the gender pay gap data.

Catholic workplaces consistently reported a lower gender pay gap than the 19 percent national median gender pay gap.

The WGEA defined the gender pay gap as the overall difference between women’s and men’s average weekly full-time equivalent earnings in an organisation.

Catholic employers

Among those the WGEA investigated were the Australian Catholic University (ACU), Caritas Australia and the Archdiocese of Sydney.

The ACU reported a median pay gap of 14.5 per cent, Caritas 13.1 per cent and the Archdiocese chancery 12.2 per cent.

Many Catholic schools, clubs, health and welfare agencies showed smaller or negligible gaps.

In an employer statement Caritas, with a workforce comprising almost 70 per cent of women in the reporting period, said factors like parental leave options contribute to its pay gap.

“While reducing the gender pay gap can be complex, it is a critical objective for Caritas Australia” a spokesperson for the Catholic charity says.

“We wholeheartedly commit to further foster an inclusive workplace where everyone has equal opportunity to thrive.”

ACU recently appointed its first Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous) Kelly Humphrey.

A spokesperson says ACU’s action plan to remove barriers to equity and diversity was recently awarded the Athena Swan Bronze Award. It is a national accreditation for gender equality in education.

“Analysis of salaries on a level-by-level basis shows pay is close to parity for women and men at most levels for academic and professional staff” the ACU spokesperson says.

“However, for some senior staff positions which are contract-based, a higher gender pay gap is evident.”

The Archdiocese of Sydney’ says it has worked hard in recent years to improve the representation of women at senior levels.

This effort has seen the first female member being included in the Archdiocese’s curia – the governance body which assists the Archbishop.

It has also improved parental leave access, workplace flexibility and other entitlements for all employees, a spokesperson for the Archdiocese says.

“There has been a conscious shift towards improving our support and recognition of women, which is necessary.”

The spokesperson says while there is still work to do, the archbishop is paying close interest.

He is particularly interested in finding out what is being done and what is still to be done to improve the lives of women and family lives of all who work at the archdiocese.

Abut half the employees in senior leadership roles at the chancery are women.

One says that while her situation in Australia is different from that of many women in other countries, she has always felt respected and heard, given opportunities and had her contribution valued at the chancery.

“Working for the equality of women aligns with Catholic social teaching in which the dignity of every person is upheld” she says.



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