Equal Pay Day 2021 – 31 August

Equal Pay Day is the number of extra days women must work each year in order to earn the same amount as men[1].  This year, Equal Pay Day is 31 August.  It means that women must work an extra 61 days just in order to earn to same annual pay, on average, as men. 

The right to equal pay was won by women in Australia in 1969.   However,  paying women and men equal rates for the same work has not delivered equal outcomes.  Men still earn, on average, more than women and the situation has worsened in the last twelve months.

This year, men are earning 14.2 per cent more than women.  In dollars per week that is a difference of $261.50 between the average pay of full time men and women.   

One of the reasons men’s average pay is higher than women’s is that industries which mainly employ men tend to have higher rates of pay.  And, even within those industries, men tend to be paid more than women.  Compounding this, work where women tend to be concentrated is often still undervalued.

The national theme for 2021 is ‘What’s your pay gap?’ 

To answer this question, workplaces are encouraged to do conduct a gender pay gap audit.  The greater the focus on pay gaps in workplaces and industries, the greater the likelihood that active steps will be taken to measure and address imbalances and any discriminatory pay practices.

So, what can else can workers do to close the pay gap?

Well, for one thing – join a union!

We know the wages of the unionised workforce is higher than non-unionised workplaces.  And we have the figures to prove it:

“The median weekly earnings of trade union members are 31.8 per cent higher than those of non-union workers… and employees who are trade union members in their main job had median weekly earnings of $1450 in August 2020, compared to $1100 for non-union workers.[2]

What else can you do?

  • Tell us what you would do if you had an extra $261.50 per week by recording a video or writing a post about it on your social media. Use the hashtag #EqualPayDay or #WhatsYourPayGap.
  • The gender pay gap is currently 14.2%. That means women earned more than $13,000 less than men last financial year.
  • Tell us what you would do with an extra $13,000 a year by recording a video or writing a post about it on your social media.  Use the hashtag #EqualPayDay or #WhatsYourPayGap.
  • On Equal Pay Day, take a photo or video and post on social media about how you’d spend this money. Use the hashtag #EqualPayDay or #WhatsYourPayGap

Here’s a sample post:

Today is #EqualPayDay! Women had to work about two months more than men to earn the same amount.  Proud I’m a union member and helping close the pay gap.”

You can also use this video in your social media, which explains the gender pay gap:

Here’s another example post: 

It’s #EqualPayDay and the #GenderPayGap is 14.2%. This video explains what it is and why it exists. There’s more to it than equal pay for equal work! 

Visit this page again soon to access more resources to highlight this inequity.

Other Resources


[1] Calculations are based on figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics of Average Weekly Earnings of male and female full time employees for the last financial year, being 1 July 2020 – 30 June 2021.

[2] Australian Bureau of Statistics Trade union membership, August 2020 | Australian Bureau of Statistics (abs.gov.au)