Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Women’s Wages Grow Three Times Faster Under Coalition

Women’s wages have grown three times faster under the Coalition Government than under Labor, the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on the Status of Women, Senator Kay Patterson, said today.

She said the Deputy Opposition Leader, Jenny Macklin, had wrongly claimed that women’s wages were falling further behind men’s.

Senator Patterson said: “The rate of growth of women’s wages has been 18.8% over the period from February 1996 to November 2003.

“This growth rate is substantially higher than under Labor. The annual growth rate for women’s wages under the Coalition is 2.2% compared to 0.7% under Labor.”

Senator Patterson said the average weekly ordinary earnings for a full-time adult male is $993.30. It has grown by 17.1% between 1996 and 2003 or an annual growth rate of 2.1%.

“The rate of growth in women’s wages is even faster – 18.8% over the same period.

“As a result weekly real full-time ordinary time earnings for women rose by $132.26 to $837.50.”

Senator Patterson said since 1996 more than 600,000 jobs have been created for women.

“There are now four million women in the paid workforce, an increase of 17.2%,” she said.

Senator Patterson said in 1996 the female unemployment rate was 7.6%. It is now at a low of 6%.