Breaking gender norms would mean $128 billion more in GDP

Breaking Australia’s entrenched gender norms could unlock $128 billion a year in the economy and 461,000 more full-time workers.

The figures come from a new report launched by Deloitte Access Economics and Australians Investing in Women, which found that gender norms – which make people behave in stereotypical ways – underpin all existing gender gaps in Australia.

The report’s modeling found that abandoning prescriptive gender norms would grow the economy $47 billion by 2040 and $163 billion by 2050. Over the next 50 years, the benefits would continue to grow, reaching $515 billion. That would mean $128 billion more in GDP each year, on average.

The report, Breaking the norm: unlocking Australia’s economic potential, indicates that this can be achieved by involving more women in the labor force, with women working more paid hours and men taking on an equal share of unpaid work and care. More people in positions that match their skills, talents and qualifications would also help.

“These benefits are really the floor, not the ceiling, of what we can achieve by breaking gender norms,” ​​said Sruthi Srikanthan, partner at Deloitte Access Economics.

The report includes figures that show nearly a third of Australian men don’t really believe gender inequality exists, more than the global average. And 28% of men think women often exaggerate or make up allegations of abuse or rape.

Meanwhile, research shows that younger generations of men (Gen Z) are just as, if not more traditional, than older generations (Millennials and Gen X).

“Where nearly a third of men do not believe in gender inequality, even though gender gaps persist in almost every aspect of our home, work and political life, our gender issue is far more important than every gender gap,” Srikanthan said.

“Our way of thinking has normalized the differences between men and women to the point that we not only accept gender gaps, but expect them.

“The way Australia has sought to address gender inequality has historically looked at different outcomes of gender norms, such as childcare costs, the structure of paid parental leave, or discriminatory hiring practices. .

“What this report shows is that without looking at the common source of these gender gaps, every action is just plugging a leak that is popping up elsewhere. You have to close the tap. »

The report also highlights the power of philanthropy to help close gender gaps, with Australians Investing in Women CEO Julie Reilly issuing a call to action for philanthropists.

“Philanthropy often provides the risk capital needed to drive social change, and there is incredible opportunity for corporate, private and institutional funders to take the lead in breaking gender norms, Reilly said.

“Currently, only 12% of philanthropic funding targets the needs of women and girls. For philanthropists who want to make a difference in the economy, accelerating progress towards gender equality is the ultimate impact investment.

“It’s a $128 billion opportunity that could help create 461,000 full-time workers at a time of crippling labor and skills shortages.”

This article was first published by Women’s program.

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