Minimum wage for women’s work set at 54 per cent of the male rate.

Justice Higgins. National Library of Australia.

A minimum wage for women’s work was set by Mr Justice Higgins as part of the 1919 Clothing’s Trades Case – the first Commonwealth Arbitration case to set the minimum wage for women. The minimum wage for women then commonly became 54 per cent of the male rate until 1950.

Quote: “…my problem now is to find a minimum wage …for an adult female…  What is the sum per week necessary to satisfy the needs of an average female employee who has to support herself from her own exertions; and on that basis of the reasonable necessary requirements of a woman in a civilized community.”  Justice Higgins in the Clothing Trades Case (Source: 13 Commonwealth Arbitration Report 691)

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