By Sarah-Joy Pierce
Sarah-Joy attended the 2016 World Bank and IMF Annual Meetings in Washington D.C. She is studying a Masters of Business (Public Relations) at QUT Business School.
The IMF emphasises that in order to maintain Australia’s position as a leading economy, innovative action is required to increase productivity. Australia invests heavily in educating women at the tertiary level, however this level of training does not convert to long term economic participation – the education-to-employment pipeline has a leak. Gender Equality is Sustainable Development Goal number 5, and Australia could reach SDG #5 and its workforce participation targets by retaining more women (and their professional knowledge) in the workplace through tax reform and employer incentives.
Increased female participation in the workforce, particularly at a leadership level, provides benefits for both business and employee (Dezso and Ross, 2011). Even in developed countries like Australia where equal employment opportunity is strongly encouraged, it seems women are not using their education to progress through the ‘pipeline’ from education to employment and then potential leadership. When women do reach this potential, society as a whole is improved (Aguirre et al, 2012). In Australia, at least a quarter of women remain the sole, unpaid contributors to family work, and there is a clear bias toward women working in sectors that are characterised by low pay, long hours and insecure working arrangements (International Labour Organisation, 2010). Changing these norms would improve the transfer and transition of professional knowledge into economic participation, as well as helping to meet SDG #5.
Governments possess the tools to empower female citizens to take advantage of economic opportunities (Aguirre et al, 2012). The proposed recommendations of this paper begin with tax reform, and then move to practical solutions and strategies for increasing the percentage of women in the workforce, regardless of profession or industry.Read More