Bianca Hartge-Hazelman

Improvement in equality across employment metrics is on the improve, albeit slowly, according to new research from Financy Women’s Index (FWI) publisher Financy.

The FWI, which measures the financial progress of Australian women and timeframe to gender equality, rose 0.9 per cent in the June quarter to 72.2 points, largely due to improvement in corporate board diversity and a slimming gender gap in underemployment.

The standout metric relates to the estimates of time it will take women to achieve financial equality across sub-index’s, with the worst of these being the area of unpaid work.

“Overall, the most significant obstacle relates to unpaid work,” the group states. “It will take 101 years before equality is achieved in this area…”.

The most ubiquitous sub index – the gender pay gap – will take 21 years to reach equality, Financy estimates, while the employment gap will take 31 years to fix.

The pandemic has played a hand in stifling women’s advancement to equality according to Financy CEO Bianca Hartge-Hazelman.

“While the long-term trend for women’s economic progress is still one of improvement, as we continue to combat the pandemic, women remain particularly vulnerable to lockdowns and the disruptions from public health and social distancing orders,” Hartge-Hazelman says.

“The concern is that the longer the pandemic continues, unpaid work seems to rise and the harder it is for many women to participate in the workforce to their full potential.”

The gender pay gap stretched from 13.4 per cent to 14.2 per cent in the quarter, with the aggregate difference between men and women’s full-time weekly wages sitting at $261 – the largest gap since 2016.

“The pink recession, she-cession, pink-collar recession – whatever you want to call it, the impact of COVID-19 has not been gender-neutral,” says Deloitte Access Economics partner Simone Cheung.

“We continue to see Australia’s key economic indicators bounce around as we cycle in and out of lockdowns and varying degrees of restrictions, and women have tended to be more impacted by the pandemic.

The financy index is a quarterly report run by Financy with support from business leaders and Deloitte.

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