Professor Judith Sloan, of The University of Melbourne's Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, has the following to say in an article in today's Australian:
But contrary to what many people believe, the occupational segregation that is still part of the labour market (men doing "men's jobs" and women doing "women's jobs") actually narrows the earnings gap between women and men in Australia.
In other words, women's relative earnings would fall if the occupational distribution of women's employment were the same as men's.
In important research by Juan Baron and Deborah Cobb-Clark, the gender pay gap for low paid workers in Australia is found to be completely explained by wage-related characteristics.
In other words, there is no evidence of pay discrimination for low-paid workers.
And, in fact, Siobhan Austin and her colleagues at Curtin University have demonstrated that the effect of minimum wages in Australia has been to reduce the gender pay gap.
The real action is at the other end of the earnings distribution where the overall gender pay gap for highly paid workers is only partly explained by work-related characteristics.
In fact, work-related characteristics explain none of the gender pay gap in the public sector whereas these characteristics explain some of the pay gap in the private sector.
Pay discrimination in the workplace is confined to high-wage workers and, interestingly, not just in the private sector.
Feast of St. Gregory Barbarigo, Bishop, Confessor, A.D. 2010