Update on gender equality: we are making some progress

According to the latest Financy Women’s Index, women are unlikely to achieve economic equality until at least 2031, despite great progress in the March quarter.

The Women’s Index measures the economic progress of Australian women quarterly. The most recent quarter saw a rise of 1.9 points to 122.7 points, up from 120.8 points in December 2018. The target is 161.6 points.

The results reflect record female full-time employment, workforce participation, increases in educational enrolments, and earnings growth relative to men. The gender pay gap is at an all-time low.

Key findings from the latest Women’s Index report

  •  Very little improvements in number of women on ASX 200 boards - positions rose to 29.7 per cent in February after a dip to 29.6 in January

  • Gender gaps in superannuation weighed on progress, with women still average 34 per cent less than men when it comes to superannuation account balances

  • At the current rate of improvement, Australian women are 12 years away from achieving financial equality (34 per cent short) according to a guide

  • Women are still being underpaid

  • The female underemployment rate is worse than a decade ago (part time, casual work)

  • Graduate gender pay gaps are wider than ever - 4.8 per cent in 2018, up from 1.8 per cent in 2017

  • Higher paying careers such as information technology and engineering remain male-dominated and are generally higher paying, however more women are signing up for these courses

  • The number of women in full-time employment is an all-new high of 3.23 million

  • The underemployment rate declined in March by 0.2 per cent to 10.5 per cent in January (versus 6.3 per cent for men), compared with 10.7 per cent in January 2018

  • This is worse than in 2009, where women had an underemployment rate of 8.8 per cent, and men were at 5.5 per cent

  • The biggest drops in gender pay gaps were seen in the construction and transport, postal and warehousing sectors with respective declines to 12.5 per cent and 15.7 per cent respectively

  • Finance and insurance, and healthcare and social assistance - the most female dominated sectors - perform the worst for the gender pay gap

  • The finance sector has the least equitable mean pay gap of 26.9 per cent

The Financy Women’s Index is an initiative to encourage women to live fearlessly by harnessing the power of their economic potential. Data is collected from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), the Australian Tax Office (ATO), the Australian Government Department of Education and Training and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

The Financy Women’s Index is an independent report sponsored by OneVue, AMP Financial Planning, the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA). It is also a partner of the Economic Security 4 Women.