Sustainable economic empowerment

What is women’s empowerment?

In Australia, women’s economic outcomes over the course of their life are affected by a diverse range of intersecting factors, including caring responsibilities, access to child care options and flexible workplace arrangements, education and training opportunities, career pathway options and occupational and industry segregation.

Women are disproportionately affected by poverty because of barriers to education and employment. Women also have less access to land and financial services. The economic empowerment of women is crucial in developing strong societies and strong economies. Guaranteeing equal opportunities for women and men is not just the right thing to do. It’s smart economics.

Some Facts

  • Australian women working full time can expect to earn 17.4 per cent less than a male counterpart
  • Women do two thirds of the world’s work, yet earn less than 10 per cent of the world’s wages
  • Women tend to use their household funds to improve the welfare of their children, but often have no control over their income
  • The World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Report 2012 found that across 135 countries, greater gender equality improves its national competitiveness

To address this women need assistance reshaping conditions at both ends of the economic spectrum, from boosting women’s participation in economic policy-making to supporting efforts to provide women with practical skills needed for securing sustainable livelihoods.

What are the economic benefits of women’s empowerment?

If women were empowered to do more and be more, the possibility for economic growth becomes apparent.

Eliminating a significant part of a nation’s work force on the sole basis of gender can have detrimental effects on the economy of that nation.[13] In addition, female participation in councils, groups, and businesses is seen to increase efficiency For a general idea on how an empowered women can impact a situation monetarily, a study found that of Fortune 500 companies, “those with more women board directors had significantly higher financial returns, including 53 per cent higher returns on equity, 24 per cent higher returns on sales and 67 per cent higher returns on invested capital (OECD, 2008).”. This study shows the impact women can have on the overall economic benefits of a company.

If implemented on a global scale, the inclusion of women in the formal workforce (like a Fortune 500 company) can increase the economic output of a nation. Therefore, women can also help businesses grow and economies prosper if they have, and if they are able to use, the right knowledge and skills in their employment.

What are the barriers to the empowerment of women?

Many of the barriers to women’s empowerment and equity lie ingrained in cultural norms. Many women feel these pressures, while others have become accustomed to being treated inferior to men.[16] Even if men, legislatorsNGOs, etc. are aware of the benefits women’s empowerment and participation can have, many are scared of disrupting the status quo and continue to let societal norms get in the way of development.

Recent studies also show that women face more barriers in the workplace than do men. Gender-related barriers involve sexual harassment, unfair hiring practices, career progression, and unequal pay where women are paid less than men are for performing the same job.[20] Such barriers make it difficult for women to advance in their workplace or receive fair compensation for the work they provide.

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Lifelong Economic Wellbeing for Women in Australia., 2020. All rights reserved.