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Female financial progress slowing despite rise in workforce participation

  • February 03 2020
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Female financial progress slowing despite rise in workforce participation

By Grace Ormsby
February 03 2020

Australia’s progress towards financial equality between men and women looks to have stalled, despite more women working full-time now than ever before.

Female financial progress slowing

Female financial progress slowing despite rise in workforce participation

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  • February 03 2020
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Australia’s progress towards financial equality between men and women looks to have stalled, despite more women working full-time now than ever before.

Female financial progress slowing

The Financy Women’s Index, a measure of the financial progress of women in Australia, said that December results buoyed what was otherwise a forgettable pace of progress for 2019.

Bianca Hartge-Hazelman, the founder of the index, said she was surprised by the December quarter results, which rose 0.9 per cent to a high of 119.9 points after a “disappointing” start to the year.

“By almost all measures, it was looking like 2019 would go down as being the worst year in a decade for women’s financial progress,” she said.

“But momentum changed during the December quarter after fresh records were broken with the number of women on ASX 200 boards, female tertiary education enrolments, full-time and part-time employment numbers, as well as the participation and underemployment rates.”

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The index improved by 1.7 per cent in the 12 months to December 31 – putting it towards the lower end for rates of progress over the decade.

The Financy Women’s Index is calculated by looking at the performance of women relative to men across eight separate areas: tertiary education, employment, workforce participation, underemployment, wages, unpaid work, ASX 200 board numbers and superannuation.

Standout areas of progress, as flagged by the index, included data showing “the greatest level of engagement among Australian women in the full-time workforce”.

The female participation rate has risen to 61.2 per cent, while the number of women in full-time employment rose by 4 per cent to a seasonally adjusted 3.34 million in the quarter.

The number of women on the boards of listed companies has also seen a boost, with female directors now occupying 30.7 per cent of ASX 200 board positions.

Joanna Masters, Ernst & Young’s chief economist, has weighed in on the findings, stating that the latest figures show the world is still shouldering biases pertaining to women in the workforce.

“There is work to be done, and I’m disappointed to see the pace of progress slow on some key issues, notably the gender pay gap, which narrowed at the slowest pace in a decade last year,” she said.

Female financial progress slowing despite rise in workforce participation
Female financial progress slowing
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About the author

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Grace is a journalist on Momentum Media's nestegg. She enjoys being able to provide easy to digest information and practical tips for Australians with regard to their wealth, as well as having a platform on which to engage leading experts and commentators and leverage their insight.

About the author

Grace is a journalist on Momentum Media's nestegg. She enjoys being able to provide easy to digest information and practical tips for Australians with regard to their wealth, as well as having a platform on which to engage leading experts and commentators and leverage their insight.

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