The Gap Narrows
The on going debate around gender disparity in the workplace continues unabted, and no more so than in recent history where the represenation of women in business continues to knock heads against the proverbial glass ceiling. According to a release by the Minister for Assisting the Prime Minister for Women, which is perhaps not the most well structured titles in this case, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows a narrowing of the gender pay gap to 17.9%, a figure that is still unacceptable but certainly moving in the right direction.
The Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash said that while there is more work to be done, several sets of statistics released this month clearly show that Australia is making meaningful progress when it comes to gender equality in the workplace.
Last week ABS data also showed Australian women are now more engaged with the labour market than ever before.
“The participation rate for women aged between 15 and 64 rose to 71.5 per cent in July – this is the highest level in Australia’s history,” Minister Cash said.
“Lifting women’s workforce participation is a cornerstone of this Government’s reform agenda.”
“We know that increasing women’s workforce participation by just 6 per cent could add $25 billion, or approximately 1 per cent to Australia’s GDP – it is imperative for both social and economic outcomes that we realise this potential.”
The Coalition Government is strongly committed to the G20 goal to reduce the gap between men and women’s workforce participation by 25 per cent by 2025.
Minister Cash said it is vital that an environment is created in which women have the skills, support and incentives to work.
“For so many Australian women the economic security that comes with having a decent job, leads to higher retirement incomes and less vulnerability to poverty, homelessness and family violence,” Minister Cash said.
“To boost women’s workforce participation we are focused on delivering accessible, affordable and flexible child care, supporting women out of the workplace to become job-ready and supporting small business to generate more jobs.”
Minister Cash also used the opportunity to breathe new life into the conversation, saying more work needed to be done to lift women’s workforce participation.
“Last week I hosted a tax roundtable in Sydney with Australian business leaders to discuss how tax reform can drive changes to our tax system and lead to practical outcomes for Australian women’s employment,” Minister Cash said.
“There are still 2.3 million Australian women aged 15 to 64 not participating in the labour force and we are obligated to ensure we remove the barriers that prevent these women from engaging in the workforce.”
“However Government cannot work in isolation to increase women’s employment and so we will continue to work with the private sector to realise the economic benefits of more women in the workforce.”