Illustration: Matt Davidson
Thousands of dollars. In fact, $13,000. Yes, that's the difference.
The gap between male and female earnings is showing no signs of closing. In fact, it has increased by 4.7 per cent over the past year.
Now before you go all blah blah on me about how men are in all those challenging jobs which are highly paid and which women just don't want to do, tell me why is it that men are in those jobs?
Why do we think there are some jobs which are unsuitable for a woman?
Are we too small? Too maternal? Too distracted by menstruation?
The figures so infuriated me I decided to interview someone I last interviewed 21 years ago.
Kerin Fielding had just been admitted as the first female orthopaedic surgeon in NSW in 1992. She was, I think, the third in all of Australia but the only one to be actually practising here. I remember the sceptics.
''The patients don't seem to be as surprised as other doctors,'' said Fielding at the time. ''A few doctors have felt they were a little unsure about whether you could do the job and a little surprised when you could.''
She is still an orthopaedic surgeon, now teaches orthopaedic surgery to medical students. And she is still one of a very few women who practise orthopaedic surgery, very few women compared with the number of men who wrench hips and knees into place.
Last year, there were 36 women among 1211 surgeons, 2.89 per cent compared with 2.74 per cent in 2009. Whoa. Quite some increase.
At the time, she said she had never experienced any direct discrimination in her work, but thought that low-level sexism existed: ''You have to be better than the rest of them … you still have to prove yourself.''
She feels the same today. She hasn't experienced serious discrimination but low-level sexism and an undeniable masculinised approach make the job harder.
''I still do feel pretty isolated … I haven't fitted into the mold,'' she says.
And because there are still many fewer women in orthopaedic surgery than there are men; and that has meant trying to fit into a culture with which Fielding doesn't have much in common.
''I don't play golf, I can't bear it, it's very blokey.''
And she's a grown woman who can ignore the comments of male surgeons who used to assume that because she was a woman, she could only manage small bones on small limbs.
''One of the surgeons at St George asked me if I was only doing a few little hand cases.''
Those ridiculous comments were, of course, a few years ago but Fielding says the tone is still there.
So Fielding is exceptionally bright, very capable; and still feels bugged by the way in which her work is constructed. Imagine what it might be like for a young woman with no power in a job with no status. Imagine what it might be like for someone like that who wants to work in an industry which has pretended the capacity to do the job is linked to XY chromosomes.
Consider this: Fielding didn't have to be a big boofy bloke to wrestle bones. She had four kids. She's a grown woman of about 170 centimetres with a body mass index of just under 24. She keeps fit but she's not obsessive.
Of course, Carla Harris, the research executive manager at the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, says industries, companies, organisations need to change. She's paid to say that.
But she's right. She says to change workplaces we must do three things.
One, do an analysis of your entire team, department, organisation. Check out the numbers, the jobs, the positions.
Two, be accountable for what you find. Make someone take the responsibility for discrepancies on equity of any kind.
Three, set targets. Make them meaningful. I mean, should we be applauding orthopaedic surgeons for getting a minuscule increase in female participation over three years? Really?
We need to start being a lot louder and prouder in our workplaces to get equality. Yes, some of us want to concentrate on rearing children. I get that. But there are an increasing number of Australian women who will have never have children. Who couldn't think of anything worse. And who want exactly the same kinds of opportunities as their brothers.
But really, if we want to increase women's participation, we must smash the patriarchy.
Oops. I'm not allowed to say that. I'm meant to say, change from within. Let's all play nicely. Organisations will change eventually.
Thing is, I doubt that. Why would you give up power and privilege if you don't have to?