Today, women across the country are invited to walk out of work at 3:50pm, a symbolic time representing the amount of time women are paid for in comparison to their male colleagues. The protest is designed to highlight the continuing pay gap faced by women, whose contributions are nevertheless vital to workplaces and industries across Australia. Here’s what you need to know about the protest, and how you can get involved.
What It Is
With the state of Australia’s pay gap today, women would need to work an extra 62 days a year to earn the same as their male colleagues, and that’s without considering other factors such as race and age. This means that women work an extra 70 minutes or so each day for free – hence finishing up the day at 3:50pm today for the walkout.
“At the moment, in comparison to men, women essentially work an extra 70 or so minutes a day for free,” the WalkoutOZ event explains. “We want to demonstrate what that means in a very tangible way by walking out of work at the same time women stop getting paid for their work every day.”
“Financial empowerment provides solutions to help address systemic inequality women experience from graduating ( at higher rates) but on lower starting salaries, 1 in 2 women experiencing discrimination for being mothers at work, retiring with 42% less super, single women over 55 being the fastest growing demographic of our homeless and of course the lifetime penalty of earning up to 23% less than men.”
You can see more stats on pay equality from the Australian Gender Equality Council.
For those in Sydney, the event involves more than just an early mark – there will also be a walk through the CBD, and speeches in Martin Place from speakers including Victoria Weekes, Eva Cox, Rebecca Reilly and Fi Bendall.
How You Can Join In
Joining the walkout is simple: all women have to do to join in is walk out of their workplace today at 3:50pm.
Men are encouraged to support their colleagues in this issue and can walk out too, though those who choose to be involved should make sure they are supporting and sharing the cause and not just taking a bit of extra time off. Men can also get involved by helping support the workplace in their female colleagues’ absence, and talking or posting online about the issue to raise awareness.
For those in Sydney, a group will be meeting at Hyde Park Fountain at 3:50pm, while the event will start at Martin Place at 4pm with the aforementioned speakers.
For those not in Sydney you are still encouraged to walk out, and you can join the movement online by posting a photo or status with the hashtag #walkoutoz.