When will modern women break the Plexiglas ceiling?


by Grant J Everett

Gender roles have shifted a lot over the years, but the divide between men and women – whether you want to focus on vocational achievement, education levels, or life expectancy – seems to be growing by the minute, rather than balancing out. Some of these changes are encouraging, others are frustrating.

Not only are women equal to men, but in some ways they are stronger. For instance, modern schoolgirls outperform their male classmates in most school subjects and on tests, and female students only make up a third of special education programs. Juvenile girls are far less likely to commit crime, they drop out of high school less, and they have a suicide rate three or four times lower than boys. Their rate of alcohol problems is also half that of men.

Male bank workers are nine times more likely to be in a highly paid role, and will earn over $37,000 extra per year.

Sadly, despite all their strengths, woman in Australia are still getting shortchanged purely due to gender. The Glass Ceiling Index keeps track of this particular situation by calculating average wages according to gender, tracking whether the wage gap is widening and where, and noting the ratio of working men to working women. Despite it all, the glass ceiling is still just as thick as ever with a whopping 95% of occupations overtly paying women less money for the exact same job than when it’s done by the opposite gender.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed the gender pay gap is at an all-time high, as men are more than four times as likely to reach high-paying roles across most occupations. There were only a total of eleven occupations where women were found to get equal or better treatment, and this mostly covered classically female-specific roles such as secretaries, library assistants and fast food cooks. Even in female-dominated occupations, however, men still hold the top paid positions: male midwives, for instance, are five times as likely to earn $16,000 more than a woman in the same field, despite only representing two percent of Australian midwives.

When calculating the Glass Ceiling Index, a score of 10 is maximum disadvantage, while 0 is no disadvantage. 0 is very, very rare.

Things are still in flux, though. For instance, working as a domestic engineer is still a valid life-choice for Australian women to make, but it isn’t seen as compulsory like it used to be. On the flipside of this equation, being a “househusband” is a role that more and more guys are playing.

Millions of Australian couples now rely on a double income to fund their lifestyles, and if that’s the case then there’s generally a higher chance that they’ll divide the housework, too. For modern guys, things like grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, balancing the household finances and picking up the kids from…whatever it is kids do nowadays is normal. It certainly isn’t the exclusive domain of women anymore.

Half a century ago, if somebody’s wife had to work in order to be able to cover the household bills, it would have been seen as a source of shame for the husband, and he may even be perceived by society as not being a good enough breadwinner. Nowadays, it’s so common that nobody cares.



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