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Women’s index recovers in Q3 despite spike in gender violence

Yasmine Raso7 June 2024
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The Financy Women’s Index (FWX) measuring progress of financial gender equality has recovered in the March quarter to sit at 78.3 points (up 2.7 per cent), after suffering its worst annual performance of the last three years in 2023.

The Employment sub-index improved over the quarter to 75.2 points, as women increased their number of monthly hours worked by 2.6 per cent compared to 1.4 per cent for men.

The Underemployment sub-index also rose by 0.88 points to 71.8, with female underemployment improving faster than male underemployment worsened.

Despite these improvements, Financy Founder, Bianca Hartge-Hazelman, said the spike in gender-based violence over the same period was “deeply concerning”, considering there have been past links made after analysing data from the Australian Institute of Crimonology’s National Homicide Monitoring Program.

“Over the past ten years there has been a positive correlation between economic equality progress and declining gender-based violence; however recently this correlation has started to show signs of decoupling,” she said.

“Whilst the long-term trend in both gender financial equality progress and gender-based violence is one of improvement over the last decade, the alarming surge in female deaths this year is of significant national concern.

“It is too early to know if this trend will continue, but if we continue to see this many tragedies (43 women killed this year already) then it will undermine economic progress and equality for women.”

The latest data from the FWX revealed that ASX 200 Board Leadership was the best performing measure with the smallest time frame to achieve gender equality, with a 5.6 year wait; followed by 17.7 years for superannuation; 19.9 years for underemployment; 23.3 years for the gender pay gap; 25.6 years in employment; 45.5 years in unpaid work and 389.2 years in education.

The best performing area of the Financy Women’s Index in the March quarter with the smallest time frame to achieving gender equality is in ASX 200 Board Leadership with a 5.6 year wait, compared to 17.7 years in Superannuation, 19.9 years in Underemployment, 23.3 years in the Gender Pay Gap (as the median timeframe to gender equality) and 25.6 years in Employment, 45.5 years in Unpaid Work and 389.2 years in Education.

The results from this quarter also showed that while “painfully slow” progress has been made, the decline in last year’s results were “very disheartening”.

 “[The rebound in reported violence towards women reminds us that] we can’t simply assume that rising financial equality will necessarily translate to falling gender-based violence. In fact, there could be perverse effect where it may increase it, if some men feel they are being left behind,” Dr Shane Oliver, Chief Economist at AMP, said.

 “At the very least this shows the need to highlight that women’s financial equality is good for both women and men. Men need to be brought along the journey too.”

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