TALKING about the pay rates of men when compared to women is always contentious.
In fact it was reportedly the topic of some conversation between teenagers, where one 13-year-old boy told his 13-year-old female classmate she was wrong to think workplace inequality still existed.
It seems the boy was both wrong and right.
For countless years women have had to make their way through a myriad of workplace barriers to attain equal standing with men.
These barriers have stopped women earning what men earned and having the sort of professional advancement afforded to men.
The latest report released by the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre and the Workplace Gender Equality Agency examines these barriers.
It also looks at gender pay gaps across occupations and industry sectors using five years of data, covering more than four million Australian workers each year.
According to the data there are positive signs the progress women have made over the past five years will continue.
Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre associate professor Rebecca Cassells says women are progressing into full-time management faster than men.
She predicts if the patterns continue, it will take another two decades for women to have equal representation in full-time management roles.
And while top-tier management positions are the most under-represented by women, they have the fastest growth rate.
Of course while women may be securing these roles, they might not have achieved pay parity.
According to the report the highest paid 10 per cent of men will earn a total salary of at least $600,000, compared with the highest paid 10 per cent of women who will reach only $436,000.
So while we might see more women holding leadership roles in society, they will never have true equity until their pay packets are the same.
Despite the disparity, their progression over the years into high profile leadership roles is allowing them to become the role models all teenagers, girls or boys, need to see.
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