Gender equality in super could be reached in 10 years

The gender gap in superannuation savings improved during the September quarter and the current growth rate of 3.06% means that super equality could be achieved in 10 years if the current progression pace persists, according to Financy.

The Financy Women’s Index found over the September quarter the financial progression of Australian women improved and was reflected by a rise in 0.6 points to 124.8 points from a June reading of 124.2 points.

While this was an improvement, the index said there was a slow-moving annual progression pace in the gender pay gap of 0.63% over the past seven years which meant that parity might not be achieved for another 24 years.

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During the September quarter Australia’s gender pay gap fell to a low of 14.02% thanks to increased full-time workforce participation among women.

Financy Women’s Index founder, Bianca Hartge-Hazelman, said: “The September quarter gain was helped by record female full-time employment and a rise in the female participation rate as well as improvements in the gender pay gap and in superannuation,” she said.

For the year to September 2019, the index climbed 4.7 points compared to the 7.1 point gain in the 12 months to September 2018.

“But the problem is economic equality is looking more difficult to achieve in our, or even our daughters’, lifetimes, given significant variance in the pace of progress across many areas like unpaid and paid work,” Hartge-Hazelman said.

The index said it was likely to take between 20 to 37 years before gender equality was achieved in the Australian workforce, based on the average annual rates of progress across the participation rate, underemployment, and in full-time work.

However, the progress in the September quarter had slowed due to a dip in female directorships on the ASX200 boards and the pace of progress in unpaid work.

The index found women occupied 29.5% of the ASX200 boards compared to 29.7% in December 2008.

“Considering the focus in corporate Australia on achieving board diversity, this is a very disappointing result and one that suggests that the next leap from 30% to 50% board diversity could really test the pace of progress,” Hartge-Hazelman said.

The index found the pace pf process towards board gender diversity was at 10%, and if this current momentum continued board equality could be achieved in 5.5 years. However, the index noted that 2019 was set to be the worst year in a decade in terms of improving gender equality on boards.

In unpaid work, the average annual rate of progress was found to be 0.25% over the past seven years, meaning it could take nearly 200 years before gender equality was achieved, the index found.

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