Australia has fallen six places to 50th in the World Economic Forum’s latest global rankings on gender equality, reflecting a growing divide between men and women in terms of economic participation, health outcomes, and political empowerment.
The data also shows that the COVID pandemic has reversed almost two years of progress, with women losing their jobs at a greater rate and being re-hired at a slower rate, especially in leadership roles. Globally, closing the gender gap will now take 135.6 years, up from 99.5 years, meaning another generation of women will have to wait for gender parity.
Greens leader in the Senate and spokesperson on women Larissa Waters said:
“These global rankings represent a damning indictment of this government’s failure to treat gender equality with any seriousness.
“Things are just not getting better - they’re actually getting worse. We’ve dropped from 15th to 50th in 15 years. We should be proud that we remain global leaders in educational parity, but there is no excuse for the growing gender gap in Australia’s economic opportunities, health outcomes and political empowerment.
“We should all be ashamed of this. If the PM’s new ‘women’s taskforce’ needed any reminding of the massive task they have ahead of them to ensure women’s safety and economic security, here it is.
“We need to see action to reverse the decline. The government needs to implement the Respect@Work recommendations; legislate to end the gender pay gap and extend the remit of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency; make early childhood education free; fix paid parental leave; and make it easier for businesses to implement flexible working arrangements.
“Australia’s gender pay gap remains over 13% and, on current trajectories, won’t be eliminated for 25 years. This gap is seeing survivors of family violence stay in abusive relationships to avoid homelessness, and more and more women retire into poverty.
“We won’t see improvements in women’s political engagement and participation until we can ensure that parliament is a safe place to work, where diverse voices are represented and listened to.
“We know what needs to be done. We just need a government willing to do it.”