WORKPLACE gender discrimination is significantly higher in regional areas than metropolitan areas, according to a new study.
Former manager of the Ballarat Business Centre Margi Cousins said gender discrimination did still exist in 2015 and needed to be addressed.
“I think more transparency is needed, particularly when positions are advertised,” Ms Cousins said.
“It needs to be made very clear that gender is not an issue.”
Charles Sturt University professor Associate Professor Parikshit Basu said his quantitative study showed women had less opportunities than men. This disadvantage was heightened for women in regional areas.
The research examined labour markets in New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria to identify levels of discrimination in both weekly incomes and hourly wage rates.
"Most studies on Australian labour market features and outcomes have focused either on issues related to regions or on gender, but rarely have both aspects been considered simultaneously," Professor Basu said.
"Victoria revealed a higher level of discrimination against women than New South Wales.
“The differences were marginal between regional areas, but substantial between Melbourne and Sydney.
“At the same time, the difference between Sydney and regional New South Wales was higher than Melbourne and regional Victoria."
Ms Cousins called for more women to be employed in higher level positions.
“The number of women in executive positions is way below men,” Ms Cousins said.
Women’s Health Grampians work with a high number of young women to help them achieve workplace equality.
ACT at work program manager Michelle Hunt said eight workplaces were involved in a trial program challenging sexism, discrimination and attitudes.
Survey results showed that 90 percent of participants who had completed the program were very or quite likely to take action to address sexist or discriminatory behaviour in the workplace.
A further 92 percent agreed this would extend to behaviours with family and friends as well.
“It remains an issue,” Ms Hunt said.
“In the regional areas women face additional disadvantage because there are less avenues for employment.
In the regional areas women face additional disadvantage because there are less avenues for employment.Michelle Hunt
“Women feel they have to ‘cop it more’ because there are not as many other workplace options.”