The good news is that Australia is experiencing a post pandemic turnaround in economic equality. The bad news is, that it’s a bit ho-hum when it comes to actually feeling it!
The latest the Financy Women’s Index Sept qtr report shows progress to economic equality made its best advancement in 2 years during the September quarter, helped by an improvement in female underemployment and a shift among women studying educational fields linked to higher expected career earnings.
Whilst the headline story sounds good – what does it actually mean for everyday women when it comes to their financial security, and importantly how can they improve it – fast?
Economic inequality is still very much a thing. It holds back the financial security of women and it robs men of having more time with their families – a point recently re-emphasized by Professor Claudia Goldin who last month became the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize for economics outright on her own, rather than jointly with other researchers.
Here’s some of the main headwinds facing women on economic equality and some tips on how to reduce their impact on your financial security.
On current trends, Educational choices remain the biggest barrier with years to equality exceeding 100 years. Tip: next time you are making a decision on what to study, or having a conversation with someone about a course they are looking to enrol in – you need to talk financial outcomes and the pathways to support that. Keep in mind that a number of universities and TAFEs are offering significant discounted or even free courses. Indeed the federal government has announced many initiatives relating to Health and STEM careers including free degrees. These are really worth exploring and making the most of if it peaks your interest.
There remains a 44-year wait for equality in Unpaid Work in what continues to be the second biggest obstacle to gender equality progress in the workforce and wages. Tip: next time you are feeling overwhelmed with all that has to be done on the home front, I want you to stop, leave the room, take a breather and resist doing anything that might be more of a procrastination than truly beneficial to you or your family. Someone once said to me, do I really want my tombstone to read: oh she kept a really nice house… not really, unless of course you’re running a home styling business and doing tours of your house!
Timeframes to gender equality stand at 5.7 years in ASX 200 Board Leadership. Tip: If you have board aspirations, then it is time to get yourself board ready. There are so many education and professional development resources and networks out there to help women, so get amongst it. Networking is critical here too. They don’t call it the boys club for nothing – it’s all networking that has allowed this to be so. The other critical enabler is your frame of mind and having the confidence to apply and show up for either paid or unpaid board roles/interviews. Do not underestimate this – in fact invest time in your own self belief.
19- 27 years for equality across employment and wages. Tip: There’s a bunch of things you can do to progress on your employment status and wages – and these are possible even when you feel completely stuck.
Invest in your education – see earlier tip – is really important, even if it is as simple of making the most of low cost online learning such as LinkedIn learning modules.
Seek out better paying roles – this one is also important. Did you know that 60% of Australians are job hunting at any one time. So don’t think you’re being disloyal – or don’t think you won’t get there – just have a go and get amongst it.
Be vocal about your career ambitions – regardless of your age! Look for the opportunities in pay within your current workplace and if you’re being held back due to discriminatory factors – take this up internally or move on to a place that sees your potential.
19 years in Superannuation Savings. Tip: Take it from me as someone who has given up a lot of super to start a social impact company… you need to put extra away! The good news is that there are many ways you can top up your super. My favourite is pursuing a career that pays above the norm, but given most Australian businesses are small – that isn’t always possible. What is possible is salary sacrificing extra into your super, or making use of apps like Super Rewards and/or Super Fierce to progress your savings.
Financy covers gender finance, diversity, inclusion and ESG issues. We advocate for gender equity change through the Women’s Index report and help businesses take action on DEI through tech solutions like IMPACTER.