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Gen Z left behind in progress to gender equality

  • November 17 2021
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Gen Z left behind in progress to gender equality

By Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
November 17 2021

Women under 25 may emerge from the pandemic in a worse financial position than when it began, new research has shown.

Gen Z left behind in progress to gender equality

Gen Z left behind in progress to gender equality

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  • November 17 2021
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Women under 25 may emerge from the pandemic in a worse financial position than when it began, new research has shown.

Gen Z left behind in progress to gender equality

The Financy Women’s Index (FWX) rose 2 per cent in the September quarter to 73.6 points and was up 6 per cent on its September 2019 result, indicating that women’s financial outcomes have improved nearly two years into the pandemic. 

Moreover, the number of women on ASX 200 boards rose to a fresh high of 34 per cent in September before dipping slightly in more recent figures.

Despite perceivably better outcomes for women, helped by a closing of key gender gaps in women on boards, employment, and the underemployment rate, experts warn that it’s a cautionary tale of women’s economic progress.

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In fact, during the September quarter, women suffered a 2.8 per cent drop in the number of monthly hours worked, but men saw a bigger 3.2 per cent fall as they bore the brunt of lockdown-related job cuts in the September quarter. This produced a 0.3 per cent improvement in the FWX Employment Sub-Index.

Additionally, fresh data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed that of the 19 key industries, female employment declined in only five sectors, but male employment fell across all of them.

“Women’s progress must come from genuine improvements in equality against a backdrop of greater well-being for both men and women,” said Nicki Hutley, independent social impact economist.

Policymakers must look to restore prosperity for all while embedding policies that genuinely address gender equity.”

But it is the Gen Z findings that are most troubling, with full-time employment numbers among women under 25 years old down 9 per cent in the September quarter and 10 per cent lower on September 2019 figures.

“The biggest risk moving forward is that women, particularly those aged under 25 years, emerge from the pandemic in a far worst financial position than when it began,” said Financy founder Bianca Hartge-Hazelman.

“As it stands, there are increased structural barriers that prevent many women from participating in paid work to their desired capacity, and these affect the immediacy at which a person can take advantage of opportunities.”

Overall, according to Financy, it will now take 29.5 years for equality in employment, down from 29.8 years, 13.7 years for equality in underemployment, down from 16.1 years, and 6.7 years of sustained progress at current rates to reach 50/50 gender diversity on ASX 200 boards. 

Gen Z left behind in progress to gender equality
Gen Z left behind in progress to gender equality
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About the author

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Maja Garaca Djurdjevic is the editor of nestegg and Smart Property Investment. Email Maja at [email protected]

About the author

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Maja Garaca Djurdjevic

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic is the editor of nestegg and Smart Property Investment. Email Maja at [email protected]

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