Add one more to Covid’s long list of victims – the gender pay gap

The gender pay gap narrowed again in June, but the current pace of change meant that it would still take more than 23 years for women to achieve parity, according to a new report.

Aug 19, 2022, updated Aug 19, 2022
The pandemic had impacted gender parity

The pandemic had impacted gender parity

The Financy organisation said the pandemic had disrupted the momentum of change and that there had been a stronger pickup in male employment in the June quarter.

Financy, a platform backed by the likes of Deloitte and InvestSmart, creates an index of the economic progress of women across education, employment, wages, board inclusion and superannuation.

It said the slight rise of 0.5 points in the June quarter was attributed to a small increase in the number of women appointed to ASX boards, according to Financy founder Bianca Harte-Hazelman.

“In terms of timeframes to economic gender equality women are now closer to achieving gender equality in ASX 200 board leadership than for any other FWX indicator,” she said.

Gender equality on boards was now 6.2 years away, compared to the previous 6.4 years and for the first time since 2021 an all-male led company, AVZ Minerals, entered the ASX 200.

Also, men were doing more of the domestic tasks and female participation in the workforce had risen to record highs.

“All of this suggests that the post-pandemic increase in workplace flexibility, such as work-from-home telecommuting has improved the ability of women to participate in the paid workforce and for men to participate in unpaid work,” the report said.

But she said the overall index was yet to recover from where it was at the end of 2021 and was still lower in annual terms than June 2021.

“The coronavirus pandemic is largely to blame for disrupting a decade of positive momentum in gender equality progress in Australia, particularly when it comes to employment and wages,” she said.

The index found that the number of monthly hours of work by men increased by more double the amount of work hours for women (2.8 per cent versus 1.3 per cent).

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The worst performing indicator was unpaid work. It would take 59 years before equality was achieved at the current pace of change.

“This timeframe is about double that seen in employment where the years to equality fell to 26 years in June, from 26.3 years in the previous quarter,” Harte-Hazelman said.

“Superannuation has an unchanged timeframe to equality at 19 years, which is an improvement on the revised 31 years as reported in December 2021.

“The time to equality in unemployment worsened to 16.3 years from 15 years in March and has been affected by recent volatility during the past two years relating to the pandemic.”



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