Women workers in the community sector may receive a pay rise if government plans to close the gender pay gap go ahead.
It wasn't so long ago that a bunch of women with long hair and peace chains marched the streets clinging to hand written banners – and the odd bra – asking for equality.
And despite major improvements to the working conditions of women in Australia, as well as increases in university participation rates the wage dispute is still an issue for many.
Earlier this year the widening 'gender pay gap' came to the attention of industry leaders and law makers across the country.
With a number of families already feeling the pinch after the GFC left its mark on the world markets the incomes of both the primary bread-winner and working partner were helping cover the basics.
Yet for quite a few women it seems that this stress may have been worse than their peers, especially those working in what are often described as the care industries such as social and community workers.
In an address at a recent conference in Sydney the prime minister Julia Gillard told community workers: "You have above average qualification, you get below average pay."
The PM identified a "gender-driven pay gap which sees … a disability support worker with a tertiary qualification who supervises five staff get paid less than $38,000-a-year" as an example of their undervalued work.
Full-time employees in this area – the majority of whom are women representing 120,000 of the 150,000 workforce – earning a little over $46,000-a-year compared with the average wage of $58,000.
Across the country working women are reported to earn about one-fifth less than men irrespective of the industry or sector.
"It is as if women work nearly seven weeks every year for free," asserted Gillard.
She added: "For too long society has under-valued the work women do."
The changes would mean that approximately 150,000 low-income workers could receive a pay rise of up to $12,000 per year within the next six years.
However, the wage rise would also depend on approval from Fair Work Australia before being introduced.
"This is an important step on the road to closing the long-standing pay gap between men and women and delivering fairness to the workplace," Ms Gillard said.
Her announcement comes at the same time as the minister for the status of women Kate Ellis takes time to talk with Sydneysiders about the vital contribution women make to the workplace.
Ms Ellis has been speaking at a number of industry events including the Equal Opportunity for Women in Business Awards, as well as a conference on women in the construction sector.