The latest gender pay gap figures reveal women in Australia earn, on average, 15.3 per cent less than men. In dollar figures we’re taking home $253.70 less every week.
Coinciding with International Women’s Day, Maybe Mae is acknowledging the gap by offering 15.3 per cent off the bill for all women between now and Sunday.
Managing partner Oliver Margan says a similar move by Sydney’s Mojo Record Bar sparked the idea.
“I thought, ‘That’s a really great initiative,” he tells Broadsheet. “I thought it was a clever way to show how ridiculous that discrepancy is.
“We’ve got a platform where we can reach a number of people and it’s nice to use that platform for the benefit of others … When you put it into a tangible sense, like the difference of the price of a drink, the message is a little bit clearer.”
Margan acknowledges Maybe Mae’s own gender imbalance – of 10 staff only one is a woman. He says it’s representative of the wider imbalance in bars – especially cocktails bars – across Australia. (You need only look at the regularly male winners of global cocktail and bartending competitions to see the upper echelons of the industry globally are male-dominated.)
While Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) data from 2017 reveal women actually make up 51.3 per cent of employees in bars, taverns and pubs across the country, the division of labour is anecdotally in men’s favour.
Sydney bartender Paige Aubort says the inequality in the industry is “quite obvious”. “Not in the fact that it’s a really sexist industry, but in the fact that maybe one in every 40 bartenders is a female and when you progress into management or full-time cocktail bartending it’s very rare.”
She recently launched not-for-profit organisation Coleman's Academy to facilitate the advancement of professional female bartenders.
Margan says he’d “absolutely” like to see more women behind the bar.
“There’s still a way to go,” he says. “We’re trying to get it into as many people’s brains as possible that this is a reality and it shouldn’t be.”
According to WGEA the gender pay gap is the difference between women’s and men’s full-time base salary earnings, expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings.
It has hovered between 15 and 19 per cent for the past two decades. (It is a measure of women’s overall position in the paid workforce and does not compare like roles.)
It means men working full time earn nearly $27,000 a year more than women working full-time.