Australian women have a lot to celebrate this week as we #pressforprogress this International Women’s Day, but unless we keep up the pressure, financial equality will remain a long way off.
As I work around the clock on the imminent release of this Wednesday’s Financy Women’s Index for the December quarter, (the only index that measures, tracks and reports on female economic progress on a quarterly basis!) I am hoping the results are going to be promising. I want them to be good, but the official data will speak for itself.
I want so much to stop asking those I interview, are women advancing? And what’s more I want to know the future is brighter for my daughters and all future generations of girls, and boys, men and women.
But what’s becoming apparent is there is so much work to be done as we #pressforprogress and choice has a lot to do with it.
Younger generations have so much more opportunity to learn from the mistakes and challenges faced by older women, myself included because I’ve made quite a few and my lines tell me I’m getting on a bit.
Educational opportunities are growing and so is the ability to access these. Career opportunities are also greater than ever before.
Indeed many women I speak to say they have never experienced a gender pay gap per se in their career. Yet the average data tells us another story overall on pay.
What’s more data also tells us we have a problem with progression when it comes to the number of women occupying senior management, and therefore higher paying jobs.
All the while we are told that women know more about household finances and yet are less financially literate than men.
We then have a big social issue. Women currently account for around 44 per cent of homeless Australians, but the figure can never be a true reflection of the number, as couch surfing mums and their kids can go unaccounted for.
Research also shows that single elderly women are also more likely to live in poverty or become homeless, as they struggle to find work or are not financially independent enough to afford their own accomodation.
Domestic violence is a huge catalyst for women seeking homelessness services, and tackling domestic family violence is key to alleviating the need for crisis accommodation.
Then there’s financial abuse, which affects an estimated 2-million Australian women each year. As wealth mentor Marion Mays told us last week:
“It’s [financial abuse] the silent form of abuse where the well dressed professional male can hide behind his business status success, whilst not leaving physical injuries on his wife or children but having total control of their life, mind and every aspect of their life,” she says.
What I would like to see this International Women’s Day is more talk around the need for women to make better choices and embrace the opportunities available.
And while we are at it, continue to call out all the issues as we see them so we can find solutions and to ensure younger generations are better informed and more equiped to progress than ever before.