A relatively new dataset is shining a light on the continued gender economic disparity between women and men in Australia.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics Gender Indicators has been created to highlight key economic and social indicators measuring equality between males and females, including the gender pay gap and life expectancy.
One of my passions in life is to help women become more financially educated and also to assist them to forge their own financial paths.
This is one of the reasons why I co-authored The Female Investor – Creating, Wealth, & Security, which became a bestseller in the property and real estate category shortly after its release.
The popularity of The Female Investor shows just how much interest there is from women keen to create financial success and independence during their working lives.
The persistent gender economic disparity
The recently released Gender Indicators prove that there is still a long way to go to address the economic imbalance between females and males in our country.
According to the ABS, the difference in full-time earnings between genders is 14.1 per cent – a rise of 0.3 per cent over the past six months.
As you can see from the graph below, the gender pay gap has barely changed over recent years – and has even widened because of the pandemic.
It’s important to also understand that gender economic disparity or gender pay gap is not men getting paid more than women for the same job – because that is illegal – but rather an outcome of the fact that women generally have more time out of the workforce.
The data also showed the disparity in the parental leave taken by the primary carer in the non-public sector with 88 per cent of this leave being women and just 12 per cent men. This is despite the fact that 34.2 per cent of women have a bachelor’s degree or higher compared with 28.3 per cent of men.
Of course, women have every right to choose to temporarily leave the workforce to raise their children, but the reality is that their financial situation will forever be paying the price because of it.
In fact, new research by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WEGA) showed that Monday 29 August marked the 60 extra days after the end of the financial year that Australian women must work, on average, to earn the same annual salary earned as men.
New data for each State and Territory has also been released, revealing the date of Equal Pay Day and those performing best and worst, with Western Australia recording the highest gender pay gap and South Australia the lowest.
WGEA has also calculated the gender pay gap by industry. The results reveal every industry still has a significant gender pay gap, with the highest in professional, scientific and technical services at 25.3 per cent.
I continually write blogs about gender economic disparity because it doesn’t seem to be changing much at all. While there is certainly more education about the gender pay gap, more policy needs to be developed that recognises the financial price women pay when they choose to be mothers.
However, women are increasingly considering their financial futures earlier in their lives and educating themselves on ways to protect themselves, including via strategic property investment.
With market conditions softening around the nation and fewer active buyers and more listings available, it is an ideal time for women to purchase their first home or investment property, which will be an asset that can make a big difference to their wealth creation efforts throughout their lives as well as into retirement.