Women’s financial progress slowed in the December quarter, with the expected time frame to gender equality rising to 101 years.
The Financy Women’s Index fell by 3 per cent to 74 points in the December quarter, as male employment recovered.
Despite the global COVID crisis in 2019, the financial progress of women is heading in the right direction, Financy reported, although the index has predicted it will still take a century to achieve equality.
The wait has increased to 101 years, from its previously anticipated 100 years in September quarter, as the gap for unpaid work widened.
The national gender pay gap is also expected to take 21 years before it closes and Australia achieves equality, while employment is anticipated to 33 years to rectify, 18 years for underemployment, seven years for women on boards and 38 years to close the gap for super.
Bianca Hartge-Hazelman, author of the Financy Women’s Index commented: “Without significant change, it’s likely that women will continue to participate in paid work at a reduced capacity to men and this will affect women’s financial security and progress.”
However, the index did finish the year 1.3 points higher for 2020, compared to 72.7 points in December 2019.
The index had also found that women are more likely to select educational pathways that are linked to lower-paid industries, which can have a profound impact on career earnings and gender pay gaps.
“The index points to a need to reconsider the value of occupations that are traditionally female-dominated such as health, aged and child care,” Simone Cheung, partner at Deloitte Access Economics said.
Roger Wilkins, co-author of the HILDA report, added it “seems likely” COVID would have increased the unpaid work disparity in 2020.
“The increase in child care provided at home brought about by closure of child care centres and leaning from home is likely to have been disproportionately borne by women,” Mr Wilkins said.
Boards had made more progress, finishing the year up six percentage points to 32.6 per cent and with the best improvement in the gender pay gap (13.4 per cent) since December 2019.
Sarah Simpkins is a journalist at Momentum Media, reporting primarily on banking, financial services and wealth.
Prior to joining the team in 2018, Sarah worked in trade media and produced stories for a current affairs program on community radio.
You can contact her on [email protected].