Women’s Index spurs gender pay gap debate

The release of the June quarter Financy Women's Index is helping to spur plenty of gender pay gap debate and we are pleased.

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The release of the latest Financy Women’s Index has received increased media attention just as many high profile women and their supporters push for serious change to end the gender pay disparity in Australia.

In an ABC Lateline exclusive, aired last Wednesday, it was revealed that the Financy Women’s Index, powered by Data Digger, improved 0.7 percentage points to 109.9 points in the three months to June 30, 2017.

The result means that Australian women have reason to feel more optimistic and confident about their economic situation.

Despite this, the Financy Women’s Index also showed that a lot more work is needed, particularly on corporate boards and that the pace of progress had actually slowed over the past six months.

The Financy Women’s Index also featured in gender pay and retirement savings disparity articles in Fairfax Media via the Sydney Morning Herald and Brisbane Times.

Coverage was also seen on Sky News Business, Seven Sunrise and Women’s Agenda, along with various financial services publications, blogs and expert market reports including AMP Capital’s chief economist Dr Shane Oliver’s Weekly Economic and Market Update.

In his note Dr Oliver said:

Rising female participation in the economy is good for growth as it will boost the workforce and a more gender diverse workforce is good for productivity. The latest Financy Women’s Index (which can be found here shows that women are continuing to make economic progress both in absolute terms and relative to men, particularly in terms of workforce participation and wages. This is great news but there is much further to go. Boosting female workforce participation to that of males could add up to 8% to the size of the economy or $147bn to annual GDP and help offset the impact of the aging population. There would likely be an additional boost to the extent that greater female participation will result in increased workplace diversity, which in turn will contribute to a more productive workforce – as Australian company boards are starting to recognise.”

The exposure of the Financy Women’s Index comes at a time when women are increasingly finding their voices get louder as they push for a narrowing of the gender pay gap.

The most recent example of this came after breakfast TV star Lisa Wilkinson announced she would leave the Nine Network’s Today Show for Network Ten’s The Project after management failed to pay her what he co-host Karl Stefanovic was earning.

We also saw comedian David Hughes reveal that he took a pay cut after learning that his friend and co-host, Kate Langbroek was not getting paid the same as him.

It now seems there is a greater inclination among high profile business women, and indeed some men, to speak up in both mainstream and social media channels about pay discrimination and inequality.

As publisher of the Financy Women’s Index, we aim to keep dishing up the facts on gender pay and equality in Australia as we strive to cut through the noise and debate around these issues and harden the case for change.

Among the key findings of the latest Financy Women’s Index are:

  • The Financy Women’s Index improved in the June quarter to 109.9 points, building on the inaugural December report of 109.1 points.
  • Job gains in full-time work participation boosted the Index as the number of women in full-time employment exceeded three million.
  • The gender pay gap narrowed to 15.3% as female wages rose.
  • The pace of progress in female board appointments in the top 20 companies remains steady at 31%.

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