An understanding of the relationship between male and female wages in Australia can best be understood by examining the decisions of tribunals in the industrial arena. The decisions of the tribunals have reduced the gap between male and female earnings, however, they have not yet been able to provide for pay equity. A gap still exists which cannot be explained through differences in the human capital of the male and female workforces. At one level this gap can be explained in terms of the impact of differences in the occupational and industrial distribution of the male and female workforces, their hours of work and positions in organisational hierarchies. However, this explanation is too superficial, being unable to explain why these differences in employment behaviour occur. Neither is it able to explain the ways in which women's wages are influenced by social values, tribunal doctrines and practices, the activities of trade unions and policies in the broader social and political arena.
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