Australian companies would be obligated to take steps to reduce the gender pay gap and report publicly on their progress under a proposal to make workplaces more equitable for women.
The Global Institute for Women's Leadership has also called on the federal government to enforce its current powers to refuse contracts with or financial assistance for companies that fall short of standards.
Without an obligation for corrective action, Australia's Workplace Gender Equality Act has been criticised as toothless, hopeless and useless.
The country has been ranked equal last place with the United Kingdom in an assessment of how six nations - including France, Spain, Sweden and South Africa - report gender pay equity.
The Global Institute for Women's Leadership and Australian National University researchers want Australia's laws changed to allow annual publication of gender pay gaps at various organisations.
Currently, Australia's Workplace Gender Equality Agency is not able to publish individual organisational data.
Instead, it aggregates figures from non-public companies with 100 or more employees across industries and gives an overall picture about how Australia is faring.
It does name companies that don't comply with reporting requirements or organisations with more than 500 employees that don't have a gender policy in place.
"At the moment, that minimum standard is just that they have some form of gender equality policy in place," report co-author Anna von Reibnitz said.
"It doesn't actually require evidence that they're enacting it. They just say, yes, they've got a policy in place."
She wants the law tweaked to ensure these companies are obligated to take steps to actively reduce pay inequality.
The ANU finance lecturer also thinks giving the public access to how well, or not, individual businesses are doing in closing the gender pay gap will help speed up change.
The UK requires the publication of company gender pay gaps and scored a four out of 11 indicators on gender equity reporting alongside Australia.
But Dr von Reibnitz noted early research showed the UK's requirement was starting to have an effect and said its gender equity reporting was also weaker in other areas.
"Australia has quite comprehensive legislation in terms of what data we collect," she said.
"Consumers might want to favour companies with lower pay gaps and so on, but you need that data to be able to do it."
Australia's average gender pay gap for full-time employees sits at 14.2 per cent