200 years to income equality

AUSTRALIAN women have lower income, less labour force engagement and poorer health than men, a Monash University-led report has found.

The first Australian Women’s Health and Wellbeing Scorecard: Towards equity for women found that at current rates it will take 70 years to reach full time employment equality with men, and more than 200 years to reach income equity.

Women’s labour force absence alone cost $72 billion in lost GDP annually, driving health inequities and deterioration, prompting calls for urgent action.

Overall, The Women’s Health and Wellbeing Scorecard found economic indicators for women were improving but that a gender gap remains for all indicators except unemployment.

In this context, more women than men experienced elevated psychological distress, which has risen sharply in women aged 18-24 and 55-64 since 2001, linked to financial inequity.

Women aged 18-24 reported the highest distress in all years since 2001. Women aged 55-64 went from reporting the lowest distress in 2001 to the second highest in 2018.