Childcare workers in Victoria will walk off the job on Thursday to mark equal pay day, following a social media campaign featuring two little girls who ask the Prime Minister to prove he's a feminist by fixing pay inequality in the childcare sector.
The United Voice Union says up to 95 percent of childcare sector workforce are women, but they are earning up to 30 percent less than men with similar qualifications.
The ABC on Thursday aired the social media spot featuring two little girls asking the Malcolm Turnbull fix the gender pay gap in the childcare sector.
"Because it's a women's job it's underpaid. $20 an hour to educate our next generation, come on! Malcolm Turnbull if you really a feminist," one of the girls asks, before both children say to the camera: "You would fix this."
The media spot was first launched in early August.
Victoria State Secretary of United Voice Union, Jess Walsh, defended using children in the ad on Thursday morning.
"Educators do important work educating future generations and this campaign is about supporting the work they do so they can do a fantastic job with children just like that," she told the ABC.
"I think the work that educators do is really important. It is about educating and developing children and children will benefit from the reforms that educators are seeking."
— Tracey Holmes (@TraceyLeeHolmes) September 7, 2016
Five childcare centres in Victoria will close at 3:20pm, Walsh said, a time in the day "where the average male can go home and knock off for his salary."
"But women, on average, need to keep working to make the same pay," she said.
Jo-anne Schofield, National Secretary of United Voice, said calls for equal pay had been ignored.
"This is strong action but it is justified," she said in a statement.
The national gender pay gap is currently 16.2 percent and has hovered between 15 percent and 19 percent for the past two decades, according to the Federal Government's Workplace Gender Equality Agency.
On June 6 Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull twice described himself as a feminist.
The United Voice action comes amid renewed debate over equality in the workforce, following former Prime Minister John Howard's predicted Australian women are unlikely to ever represent half of the federal parliament because of their greater child caring responsibilities.
Women now make up 32 percent of the federal parliament, up from 27 percent on the 44th parliament.