Gender inequalities that still exist in Australia right now
Vaccines mean we are making progress in the fight against COVID-19, officials are heeding calls for more climate action, politicians have taken a small first step by formally apologizing to victims of harassment and bullying, and conversations about mental health and wellness are being brought to the fore.
But there is one area where Australia still lags behind the rest of the world: gender equality, with the workforce – and society – still largely male-dominated and catering to them.
As International Women‘s Day approaches, we’re highlighting where inequities still exist for women…and what we can do about it.
The gender pay gap
The latest Gender Pay Gap Report (taken from 2020-2021) from the Australian Agency for Gender Equality in the Workplace found that women typically earn $7.72 for every 10 $ a man earns. And it all adds up – women usually earn around $25,000 less than men every year, with men twice as likely to earn more than $120,000 per year than women.
Even typically “feminized” industries – think health, social services and education – have persistent gender pay gaps in favor of men. They are also the industries least likely to undertake pay gap audits, with less than 40% taking action to equalize the scales.
Women are also shouldering more of life’s “mental load,” or unpaid emotional labor. Research by the Australian Human Rights Commission found that women spend twice as many hours a day as men on unpaid care work, such as raising children or supporting an elderly relative. or a sick relative.
women pay more
Not only are women paid less… but we also pay more. It’s called the “pink tax,” and it means the prices of everyday items often go up simply because they’re marketed to women.
A study conducted by AMP in 2019 found that, on average, women pay 29% more for razors, 16% more for body wash and 12% more for underwear every time they do their races.
In the same year, comparison site finder.com.au found that women are also more likely to pay more for services like dry cleaning and even income protection. Additionally, women are largely ignored as customers when it comes to products related to major financial choices, despite being responsible for up to 80% of household purchasing decisions.
But there are companies that are leading the way and making positive changes: like Stella Insurance. A female-dominated car insurance brand committed to rewriting the rules in a traditionally male-dominated industry.
Their products are specifically designed for women – after all, they make up 52% of all road users and are statistically safer drivers. They’ve created a more intuitive experience, offer premium perks, competitive pricing, and rewards for being a safer driver. Beyond insurance, they have a vision to help balance the gender biases that exist for women in insurance and life in general.
It starts from the top
Women are also systematically underrepresented at the highest levels of business. The 2021 Census of Female Senior Executives revealed that only 18 of Australia’s largest ASX300 companies have female CEOs. It’s just six percent.
Not only that, but most jobs leading directly to the top job are held by men (86%, in fact), with 181 of Australia’s 300 largest companies having NO women in these roles. This, despite evidence showing that diverse management teams (and, therefore, diverse companies) perform better.
The report also predicts that it will take another 65 years for women to occupy 40% of positions on management teams, so positive change cannot come soon enough.
What can we do with all of this?
Facts and figures can be overwhelming (and yes, daunting), but there are practical things we can do to make a difference.
Like making individual company pay data public, so investors, employees and consumers can vote with their feet, their time and their voice.
Or continue to challenge the idea of traditional gender roles – like women as primary caregivers – so that the scale of emotional labor can begin to balance.
even simply knowing the facts around gender inequalities plays a role. On this International Women’s Day, we are encouraged to #BreakThe Bias. By imagining a more diverse, equitable and inclusive world, and celebrating those who make a difference, we can all help inspire positive change.
Sponsored by Stella Insurance.*
* Normal subscription conditions apply. Any advice provided is general only and has been prepared without regard to your objectives, financial situation or needs and may not be suitable for you. To decide if this product is right for you, please read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Target Market Determination (TMD) available at stellainsurance.com.au. Stella Underwriting Pty Ltd (ABN 72 633 811 319) is an authorized representative (AR 001282046) of Allstate Insurance Pty Ltd (ABN 82 073 267 053, AFSL 239010) which acts (under its own AFSL) on behalf of the issuer of the product, QBE Insurance (Australia) Limited (ABN 78 003 191 035, AFSL 239545).