Unpaid work is the biggest contributor to financial equalities for women in Australia. There are 2.7 million unpaid carers in Australia, of which 1.8 million are women. Raising children, looking after the elderly and others in the community, domestic duties is all defined as unpaid work. If monetised, it would add another $2.2 trillion to the economy each year, according to a 2017 PwC report.
Super Rewards is our bid to monetise the $2.2 trillion of unpaid work in Australia, predominantly done by women.
How is women’s financial progress measured?
But how do we measure the progress – or not – of women’s financial inequalities? It can be difficult to understand how policy changes or workplace practices actually flow through and impact women, in a way that can be measured.
Thankfully, someone and something is doing this. The Financy Women’s Index (FWI), created by respected journalist Bianca Hartge-Hazelman, measures and analyses data points that impact Australian women’s economic progress on a quarterly basis. Data points are taken across education, employment, underemployment, the participation rate, unpaid work, wages, superannuation and representation on boards.
The latest women’s economic progress results
30 September 2019 results show that the FWI rose 0.6 points over the 3 months prior, taking the quarter end number to 124.8. What does this mean? Bianca summarises the changes as follows:
• The pace of progress slowed quarter-on-quarter, largely due to a dip in female directorships on ASX 200 boards.
• Index was helped by record highs in the female participation rate and female full-time employment numbers.
• Inequalities in the workforce may take up to 37 years to resolve and nearly 200 years to achieve gender balance in unpaid work.
The good news
The pay gap, as measured without factoring in total remuneration, appears to have improved to a new low of 14.02%. It is worth remembering that we have seen these levels before, and that Equal Pay was legislated in Australia 50 years ago! Similarly, the superannuation gap between men and women has narrowed too. While ABS data is one way to measure the super gap, ASFA data measures it differently. Importantly, we need to recognise the size of the gap is still incredibly substantial in its consequences – that still so many women are retiring with grossly insufficient retirement monies.
The bad news (but here’s the life raft)
200 years is a really long time to wait for gender balance in unpaid work to be achieved; it won’t be in our daughters’ or grand-daughters’ lifetimes, but perhaps our great-granddaughters.
This slowness of corporate and policy changes only reinforces why Super Rewards was created. As a cash-rewards-into-super online shopping platform, it means YOU can start contributing to your super right away – without having to wait for 200 years. What’s stopping you signing up right now?