Hon Simone McGurk BA(Arts) BA(Comms) MLA

Hon Simone McGurk BA(Arts) BA(Comms) MLA

Minister for Child Protection; Women's Interests; Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence; Community Services

    Determined to #BreaktheBias on International Women’s Day

    8/03/2022 11:00 AM
    • State Government committed to addressing gender inequality in Western Australian workplaces, while recognising strong representation of women in WA Parliament
    • Recommendations from the National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces are being progressed
    • The theme for International Women's Day 2022 is #BreaktheBias

    Today as we mark International Women's Day, the McGowan Government is celebrating the steps taken towards gender equality in the workplace, while acknowledging more still needs to be done.


    Half of all Western Australians are women and girls, with women currently making up 47 per cent of the WA workforce, compared to 36 per cent in 1980. However, women are over-represented in part-time and casual work.


    The State Government is strongly committed to providing safe and inclusive workplaces not only for public sector employees, but for all employees across WA regardless of industry or size.


    The result of the 2021 State Election means WA women have never been more represented in State Parliament. For the first time, 52 per cent of Labor MP's are women and women now make up 45 per cent of the WA Parliament.


    State Parliament has also reached other significant milestones including the first Aboriginal woman elected to the WA Legislative Council, the 100th woman elected in Parliament and the first female Speaker in the WA Legislative Assembly.


    Under the McGowan Government, State Government boards and committees are now comprised of 52 per cent women, compared to only 34 per cent of ASX 200 board members. In the WA public service, 44 per cent of members of the senior executive are now women (up from 34 per cent in 2017).


    Despite 37 per cent of women holding a Bachelor Degree or above, compared with 29 per cent of men, WA's gender pay gap is unacceptably high - 21.9 per cent compared with 14.2 per cent across Australia. 


    The gender pay gap starts early in Australia with 2018 salary data showing men's undergraduate median starting salaries are greater than women's in 16 out of 21 fields of study.


    Women's average superannuation balances at, or approaching retirement, are $290,000 compared to $360,000 for men.


    Women also perform around 75 per cent of all unpaid work, including caring for children and others, housework, administration and volunteering.


    As part of its commitment to building a culture that prioritises safe workplaces, the State Government is continuing to progress the recommendations of the National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces, also known as Respect@Work.


    The progress report can be found at https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/department-of-communities/implementing-respectwork-progress-report


    In 2021, the State Government committed to progressing the 18 Respect@Work recommendations relevant to State and Territory government agencies, including:

    • implementation of Stronger Together: WA's Plan for Gender Equality;
    • implementation of Path to Safety: Western Australia's strategy to reduce family and domestic violence 2020-2030;
    • providing the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission, the power to issue a stop sexual harassment order, consistent with the 2020 Respect@Work Sexual Harassment National Inquiry Report;
    • development of Western Australia's Sexual Violence Prevention Strategy;
    • delivery and expansion of the respectful relationships school support program;
    • increased legal services, advice, advocacy and education resources for people experiencing workplace sexual harassment;
    • review of the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (WA), and
    • establishment of the Mental Awareness, Respect and Safety (MARS) program to enhance the State's response to sexual harassment and assault in the mining industry.

    Comments attributed to Women's Interests Minister Simone McGurk:


    "International Women's Day in Western Australia is an opportunity to celebrate the contributions of women and demonstrate our commitment to gender equality, while acknowledging there is still a long way to go.


    "The high representation of women in State Parliament is a terrific achievement, and an example of how our commitment to setting and achieving targets is driving change at the highest levels of government. 


    "Women still experience gender disparity and discrimination in many aspects of their lives, and that is why it is important we use our voices to shine a light on areas where progress is slow. There is no doubt women around the country are impatient to #BreaktheBias.


    "The State Government is continuing to build on its important work to ensure that women and girls can reach their full potential, and importantly, are safe and free from violence, discrimination and harassment in their homes, workplaces and in the community."


    Minister's office - 6552 6600