The ‘pay gap’ between men and women has recently become a hotly debated topic. Ever since Patricia Arquette’s attention-grabbing Oscar speech, women around the world have been uniting and expressing their support via social media. It appears that the cry for equality has resounded in some Australian halls of power, with the Western Australian Government deciding that the issue of gender based pay disparity is indeed worth addressing.

According to the state government, there is currently a twenty four percent gender pay gap between men and women working within the state. In order to make up the difference, the state government has taken the initiative and recommended that more women enter the electrical and mechanical trades. With just three percent participation in these fields, women have been limited in terms of their options and educational prospects.

But those limits won’t exist anymore, according to WA Training and Workforce Development Minister Liza Harvey. With rampant rates of pay disparity leading to a higher-than-average statistical representation, Minister Harvey believes that the state government should tackle the cause head-on.

“We do have a disproportionate number of men in jobs earning higher incomes as opposed to women,” she told the ABC. “[One of] the ways to address the gender pay gap is to have more young women more into apprenticeships and trades where their earning capacity is higher.”

Following through on their ambitious rhetoric, the WA Government has announced a $1.2 million scholarship program which will be offered to young women across the state. The investment will encourage women to take up a trade and begin a career in a usually male-dominated field.

“It’s a real win-win for women to take up trades. There is a whole range of careers – electricians, quantity surveying and building estimating – where there is under-representation of women with no good cause,” Minister Harvey explained. “There are so many opportunities. The tide has turned and there are companies desperate to engage female apprenticeships.”

It seems the WA Government is doing all it can to make sure that women are provided with the same employment and career opportunities as their male counterparts. And that’s a good first step towards the development of a truly modern Australian economy.

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