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Trump's impact on gender equality unknown

AAP logoAAP 15/11/2016 Belinda Merhab and Jennifer Rajca

Australians will have to "wait and see" what a Trump presidency means for gender equality as new figures show massive gaps between what men and women are paid.

Workplace Gender Equality Agency director Libby Lyons says Donald Trump's election as US president last week is a reflection of the financial hardship being experienced in the heartland of America.

"For some reason or another, they believe they had greater hope with Trump than they did with Clinton," she told the National Press Club in Canberra.

"It is disappointing."

The agency's latest gender equality scorecard on Wednesday showed women on average still earn nearly $27,000 a year less than men despite making up half of the workforce.

And the salary gap rises to more than $93,000 at top management levels.

It also shows five out of six CEOs are men, with women holding 37 per cent of all manager roles.

Ms Lyons doesn't believe employers deliberately pay women less, or discriminate against them, blaming an "unconscious bias".

She said women are missing out on management positions because of the time they take out of their careers to care for children, and wants men to be encouraged to take paid parental leave and greater responsibility for the care of children and the aged.

"We need to recognise that it can be shared, that the parental duties can be shared, but we need employers to step up to start offering the same conditions in paid parental leave for men as they do for women," she said.

It's not all bad news, with some improvement in key indicators, including greater movement of women into management roles and more work by bosses to address equality.

The agency's third year of data covers 12,000 employers and four million employees.

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