Canberran Courtney Lawler says women can look at the data and make one of two choices.
"You either go hey, I'm going to fight back, or on the flipside it can make you think well, I won't get that management job because the statistics are against me," the 25-year-old said.
"I think it is difficult to push back."
And the statistics are stark. Nationally, on average, women earn $261.30, or 16 per cent, less per week than men. The gap is lower in the ACT at 11.5 per cent.
As well, less than 40 per cent of workers in all manager categories are female.
A senate inquiry into gender segregation in the workforce and how it impacts on women's economic equality will compare the situation in Australia with that of other countries and aim to find remedies for the issue.
Female-dominated industries attract an average yearly salary of $77,734. Industries where the majority of workers are men carry an average pay of $92,317.
The Department of Employment wrote that industries dominated by women had the highest proportion of part-time employment with the opposite true for those with the lowest number of women.
The Workplace Gender Equality Agency's lengthy submission described occupational gender segregation as the second largest underlying factor of the gender pay gap.
"Gender segregation also contributes to a lower rate of female participation in the workforce which affects national productivity and economic growth," the body wrote.
"Women receive lower rewards from investing in their tertiary education and from their work experience than men."
The Community and Public Sector Union's submission noted while efforts were being made to get more women into management roles in the public service, less attention was paid to the "significant" pay gaps between agencies at the same classification level.
"For example an APS 3 in the Department of Finance is paid $72,895 per annum while an APS 3 in the Department of Human Services earns $69,239," the union wrote.
"Job-related characteristics explain none of the wage differentials for well-paid workers in the public sector."
YWCA Canberra chief executive Frances Crimmins pointed at her own industry as one filled with women and paying less.
"People could take a look at YWCA and say yes, your entire leadership team is women ... [and] 80 per cent of our staff are women," she said.
"However, the challenge I'd put to people is if the men want to come and work for us and have a big pay cut, they're welcome to."
Among the Workplace Gender Equality Agency's recommendations are to normalise flexible working for women and men and educate on discrimination and unconscious bias, creating opportunities for more women to progress into leadership positions.
Many other of the 38 submissions, including that of Professionals Australia, outlined similar remedies.
Researcher Karen Struthers, whose submission focussed on the need to get more women involved in male-heavy trades, wrote: "Action will be more effective if the low participation of women in male-dominated trades is elevated from a social issue to a social and economic problem of national significance."
Ms Crimmins listed education, management quotas, flexible working hours and blind recruitment as possible solutions.
"The data tells us that gender equality doesn't just happen organically," she said.
The committee is due to report back on March 30.