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Australian Women’s Struggle for Economic & Financial Security

Most of us would agree that advancing gender equity is central to creating a fair and inclusive society. Although it is frustrating that we are still so far away from a truly equitable society, the ongoing advocacy and activism in our community brings with it huge potential.

What is the state of play?

The release of the 2023 World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Report Rankings found that Australia is currently ranked 26th overall globally for gender equity, up from 43rd in 2022. Despite this improvement, Australia still sits 38th in the world for women’s economic participation and opportunity.

Enhancing economic and financial security for women will not be achieved by undermining and lowering economic security for men. This is not about the trade-off. Rather, this important issue identifies areas where women’s economic security is lower or more precarious than men. Our Women’s Leadership Symposium development session partner, Australian Gender Equality Council (AGEC), has this insight:

“Women currently represent 51% of the Australian workforce. However, women are concentrated in more vulnerable casual and part-time roles. “

Source: Australia’s Gender Equality Scorecard 2022

Women are also underrepresented in leadership and decision-making positions, across all industries, even in those dominated by women. Across the board, women make up only 22.3% of CEOS, and 35.1% of key management positions overall.

Source: Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet

What should be done?

Some recommendations to begin addressing women’s economic and financial security are:

Financial Financial literacy and education need to start from a young age which includes having personal finance taught at school.

Superannuation and the pension

Introduce legislation that ensures all employees continue to provide superannuation guarantee contributions to staff while on maternity and paternity leave.

Gender pay gap Close the gender pay gap through legislated wage increases skewed towards currently low-paid sectors that have a high proportion of female workers. Childcare and parental leave

Improving access to affordable childcare and paid parental leave will encourage a higher workforce participation rate for women.


Provide a government-funded “carer credit” which sees carers allocated credits in the form of superannuation payments, pension top-ups, and other government services as a payment for the savings to the budget these carers implicitly accrue from their unpaid care for dependent family members.

“The faces of girls and women in leadership roles—Malala Yousafzai, Greta Thunberg, Wajeha al-Huwaider— have inspired young girls and women across the world to stand up for issues important to them” Source: UNDP2023 Gender Social Norms Index

How can we help?

Creating equitable opportunities for education, training, and development will go a long way to remedying these statistics.

Our programs address development for women at all levels of leadership, however, women are only part of the solution. Our programs seek and accommodate those from all genders through our general workplace skills development, mentoring and sponsorship, coaching and inclusive leadership practice.

When all of society recognizes this need for change, only then can we work towards achieving women’s economic security, abolishing the gender pay gap, and bringing about gender inequity in leadership.

Join the conversation

To hear more on this issue from key thought leaders including the AGEC, join us at one of our upcoming Symposiums:

Register now for Australia's premier women's leadership event for the opportunity to witness the strength, brilliance, and dedication of women leaders from all walks of life, as we come together to celebrate and learn from each other.

This blog was adapted from a speech by Women & Leadership Australia CEO, Karen Taylor.

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