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(Australian Associated Press)
For the first time, female engineering graduates have a higher starting salary than their male counterparts, new data shows.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday released gender equality data showing female engineering graduates earn $65,000 compared to $63,500.
However this bucks the trend, with average starting salaries for female graduates being slightly less ($59,000) than male graduates ($60,100).
Female graduates earn less than males in 15 out of 19 industries.
The data also shows that women nearing retirement have about 37 per cent less superannuation than men.
The Gender Indicators report compares outcomes for men and women across various sectors including pay, education, health, safety and leadership roles.
The average female wage is 89 per cent of the average male wage, the data shows.
Although women are participating more in education, they are outnumbered on boards, as CEOs, ministers, parliamentarians, judges and justices.
Over the past decade the proportion of women has been higher in the Senate (38 per cent) compared to the House of Representatives (26 per cent).
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has recently ruled out quotas to boost the number of Liberal women in federal parliament, but concedes the party needs to recruit more females.
Less than a quarter of federal Liberal MPs are women compared to almost half of Labor representatives.
Minister for Women Kelly O’Dwyer says the pay gap has hit a record low of 14.5 per cent, according to reporting by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.
Over the past decade, the pay gap peaked at 18.5 per cent in November 2014.
Leading recruitment agency Adecco Australia says women can be deterred or overlooked from applying for industries with a masculine image, such as mining and construction.
“To challenge this, businesses need to bring in tangible measures to ensure workplace equality, such as routing out harassment and ensuring unbiased recruitment policies,” managing director Marianna Mood said in a statement on Tuesday.
In the safety and justice sector, the imprisonment rate for men is nearly 12 times that of women.
Women are four times more likely to be sexually assaulted, yet men and women experience similar rates of physical or threatened violence.