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Greens mark Bluestocking Week with call to close gender pay gap

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 12 Aug 2013

Greens spokesperson for higher education and women Senator Lee Rhiannon has kicked off Bluestocking Week by calling on Labor and the Coalition to commit to closing the gender pay gap for women workers in Australian universities. 

“Women staff at universities have been paid unfairly low wages for too long and in this election campaign Labor and the Coalition should detail how they will end this inequality,” Senator Rhiannon said. 

“A study by the National Tertiary Education Union has found that the average wage gap for general female staff compared with male staff is 8.7 per cent

“The gap has increased not decreased over the last 18 years. 

"Equal pay for work of equal value is a human right and Labor and the Coalition should set out their policies to end the wage inequality. 

"The campaign for equal pay has a fine history as does Blue Stocking Week. For over eight decades women's groups and unions have campaigned to end discrimination.  In 1927 women employed in the Australian insurance industry banned overtime and staged street protests demanding equal pay," said Senator Rhiannon.

The term “Bluestocking” was adopted by women in the 19th century campaigning for access to universities. These women deliberately adopted the name “Bluestocking” as it had been used as a term of criticism for women who were educated. 

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