Australia moves to boost economic equality for women

A working plan aims to reduce barriers for women in the workplace by providing opportunities to assume leadership positions and improve earning power.
By: | October 26, 2023

The Australia Retailers Association (ARA) has welcomed the Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce’s (WEET) 10-year plan, which looks to push the economic contribution of Australian women forward by removing or reducing barriers for women in the workplace in areas such as leadership, workforce participation and pay equality.

Paul Zahra, Chief Executive Officer, ARA, said the retail sector is committed to addressing imbalances and promoting gender equality as one of Australia’s largest private-sector employers of women, according to the ARA website. 

“Gender equality is a critical issue for the retail sector and so we welcome this long-term view outlining what we need to do to address the issues and roadblocks that create inequalities on the basis of gender,” said Zahra. “To help focus and accelerate this work, the ARA has also developed a Gender Equality Position Statement outlining the key changes that our sector needs to make to address inequalities.” 

The Women’s Economic Equality: A 10-year Plan to Unleash the Full Capacity and Contribution of Women to The Australian Economy report by WEET identifies AU $128 billion (US $81.9 billion) in economic value that can be harnessed by removing barriers for women in areas such as leadership, participation, pay gaps and wealth equality.  

The WEET taskforce was an independent group established to provide advice to the government to support the advancement of women’s economic equality and achieve gender equality.

In its report, WEET also recommended that the Australian government provide women with lifelong, affordable and accessible education and skill-building, encouraging the development of programmes that support women to enter or work in specifically male dominated areas.

Supporting these initiatives, Zahra said that the ARA would be willing to partner with the Australian government to design and deliver new courses to support women taking on leadership and management positions in the retail sector. 

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He also supported the move to alleviate childcare stressors for women, citing the cost of childcare as a significant barrier preventing women from entering the workforce. “Addressing this issue would certainly produce better outcomes for women,” Zahra added.