Gender equity for women in Australia requires more action

Health, meaningful employment, a decent income, and an adequate level of wealth are factors to enable individuals to participate and contribute to society.
By: | December 6, 2022

The economic indicators for women are improving, however, there is still a gender gap on all other indicators except for unemployment.

In a Monash University study, it was found that it will take 70 years for women to reach full-time employment equality with men, and over 200 years to attain income equity. Particularly, women are found to have poorer labour force outcomes, lower incomes, and less superannuation than men. Although these outcomes continue to improve slowly, gender gaps remain large, particularly around full-time employment, labour force absences, incomes, and superannuation.

Titled Women’s Health and Wellbeing Scorecard: Towards equity for women, the study also found more women than men experienced elevated psychological distress, which has risen in women aged 18-24 and 55-64 since 2001, linked to financial inequity. Women aged 18-24 reported the highest distress in all years since 2001. Women aged 55-64 went from reporting the lowest distress in 2001 to the second highest in 2018.

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Report co-authors, Associate Professor Emily Callander, Women’s Economics and Value Based Care Unit Lead, Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation (MCHRI); and Professor Helena Teede, Director of MCHRI, said equitable health and wellbeing was a social justice issue and critically linked to financial equity and accessible prevention and healthcare. Based on the findings of the study, they concluded that women were not progressing in terms of health, wellbeing, and equity.

Professor Teede said, “Removing the structural barriers that prevent equality is an urgent priority to prevent the declining health of women in Australia. Urgent action is required to address women’s health and wellbeing, through a women-centred, evidence-based approach that focuses on achieving real change for women. Implementation of evidence, monitoring, and accountability here is imperative.”