The COVID-19 pandemic has turned our lives upside down. Professor Lyn Craig at the University of Melbourne explains how it has laid bare how little we normally pay for “women’s work”. Australia’s gender equality ranks 49th on remuneration on the World Economic Forum Gender Participation and Opportunity Index 2020 that measures workforce participation, remuneration and advancement.
In April eS4W’s partner organisation, Financy, released their Women’s Index for the March Quarter 2020 – looking at the impact of COVID-19 on women’s financial progress. The Index rose by 0.4% with the pace of progress the weakest since September 2018. A slowdown in full-time employment growth among women and rising female unemployment relative to male reflects the early impact of COVID-19 shutdowns and containment measures. The Index shows women are 32 years from achieving economic equality with men, but this could expand due to the long-term impact of COVID-19. Australian women are bearing the brunt of the job cuts.
Joanna Masters, Chief Economist Ernst & Young Oceania, advises, “For women, the risk is that some of the recent economic progress slides backwards. This is not because we care less about gender equality but reflects economic consequences and perhaps diverted focus.”