Gender equality is an issue that’s gaining attention. However, there are still many barriers to achieving a gender equal society, and this is negatively impacting women’s super and their futures. So, what’s being done and what does the future look like for women? We spoke to the Australian Gender Equality Council (AGEC) to find out.
It’s well documented that, on average, women earn less than men, shoulder more unpaid carers work, and end up with 42% less super in retirement1. On top of that, research suggests the COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to widen the gender gap. It’s reported that over 1 million women applied for the Government’s early access super scheme, totaling $8.5 billion in super payouts2.
Are things moving too slowly?
Coral Ross, Chair of the Australian Gender Equality Council (AGEC) says one of her greatest concerns in 2021 is that the speed of change toward a gender equal society is too slow.
To achieve momentum in gender equality we must teach it.
Key gender equality statistics
- 1 in 2 women are discriminated against at work for being mothers3.
- Only 5% of our top businesses are run by women3.
- Women make up half of the population and half of the workforce but earn $241.50 a week less than men.
- Much of the additional unpaid caring responsibilities created by the pandemic is shouldered by women4.
- Women are 1.8 times more likely to lose their job amid the COVID-19 pandemic than men because of an increase in caring responsibilities5.
The AGEC manifesto focuses on 12 key issues, and Ross says one of its major focus areas is changing societal norms.
A report commissioned by the AGEC, HandsUp for Gender Equality, found while confidence and ambition levels were similar among high-school-age boys and girls, their career preferences were diametrically opposed. ‘Young women were interested in caring, helping, supporting type careers, and the boys were thinking about building, designing and growing,’ says Ross.
‘If we’re expecting to have 50% female CEOs and 50% women in mining and engineering, then we need to be starting earlier to challenge societal norms in high school, primary school and even kindergarten,’ says Ross. ‘If we want girls to work in aviation for example, they need to know they can be a pilot.’
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