Intergenerational Holistic Equity Index: Mapping Intergenerational Inequality in Australia

By Stephanie Thomson

Stephanie attended the 2015 United Nations Economic and Social Council Youth Forum in New York.


Intergenerational inequality threatens the sustainability of Australia’s welfare system and the prosperity of future generations. This report sets out the findings of Australia’s first comprehensive measure of intergenerational inequality: the Intergenerational Holistic Equity Index (‘IHE Index’).  The index is the result of collaboration between the author and the Intergenerational Foundation, an independent UK charity that pioneered the index methodology in this field.  It has long been assumed that future generations will live better lives than their predecessors.  This report illuminates trends in Australian data over the last 15 years that challenge such assumptions.  Significantly, the IHE Index reveals that overall outcomes for youth and future generations have worsened 13% since the year 2000, driven by both economic and environmental factors. Economic outcomes alone have declined significantly, down 34% since 2000. Environmental factors also indicate deterioration in outcomes for future generations, worsening 8% over the past 15 years.  Individual and societal wellbeing is the only component seen to improve, rising 3%.  If these trends continue into the next 35 years, this report argues that the future of Australia’s tax and transfer system is under threat, with overall lifestyle outcomes predicted to worsen by 70%.

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Equalising Participation of Women in STEM: International Case Studies of Successful Strategies

By Anna Kosmynina

Anna attended the 2015 OECD Forum in Paris.


Despite the advances that women have made in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), participation in Australia remains predominantly male, with only 33% of tertiary STEM qualifications being awarded to women and the qualified STEM workforce only comprising 28% women. Similar patterns of gendered participation are observed internationally, however Australia is below the OECD average. Developing and implementing strategies to increase women’s participation in STEM education and workforces and engages educators, government and industry in its solutions, and leads to increased gender equality and economic benefits. This paper explicitly contributes to the post-2015 OECD outcomes of empowering women and enhancing the capacity to innovate to achieve integrated sustainability

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When microfinance and megafinance meet

Scott attended the 2012 G20 summit in Mexico where he represented the Macquarie University. Scott is studying a Bachelor of Actuarial Studies & Economics, as well as being a member of the Global Leadership Program.

Executive Summary 

Sustainable and effective methods of eradicating global poverty are of high priority on the agenda of the G20. This is because poverty reduction is generally associated with an increased standard of living, a higher level of education and greater economic opportunities for individuals. Furthermore, nation states which engage in poverty reduction strategies can simultaneously transition their economies from dependent ones to diverse and sustainable ones. 

The paper assesses microfinance collectively as a tool and through its main services, namely credit, savings and insurance, highlighting merits and limitations of each. Analysis of the above leads to innovative ways for the G20 to add value to this movement. 

Motivation for the G20’s involvement is evident with social inclusion as a permanent agenda item. The G20 has recognised microfinance as a key to reduction of poverty. I recommend that more concrete action be taken by the G20, through funding of MFIs and supporting the introduction, development and efficiency of microfinance by working alongside governments to fulfil the Nine Principles for Innovative Financial Inclusion. 

The issue of women in microfinance is identified and analysed. The oppression of women as individuals and as a community is addressed. Microfinance enables women to develop their capacity for financial management. The G20 is a catalyst to change the systematic disadvantage of women, drawing the significance from the experience of the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh of the transition for women. 

The paper concludes that microfinance is valuable for the reduction of poverty. . It also recognises that poverty cannot be solved with microfinance as the only model. The limitations of microfinance are examined, identifying the appropriate context for microfinance institutions (MFIs).

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Australia's role in translating outcomes on oceans from Rio+20 to the Pacific

Frances attended the 2012 United Nations Rio+20 summit where she represented Macquarie University. She was at the time studying a Bachelors of Environment and Law and was a member of the Global Leadership Program, as well as working for the Environmental Protectors Office. Frances is now currently studying a Master of Environmental Law at Sydney University.

Executive Summary

The purpose of this paper is threefold:

1) to consolidate the current international and Pacific region instruments and policies in relation to ocean management;

2) to evaluate these structures on their effectiveness; and

3) to make recommendations for future directions, with a specific focus on Australia's role.

The Pacific region is particularly vulnerable to environmental change and marine degradation. The Pacific nations, including Australia, seek a 'Blue Economy', to encourage sustainable management of ocean resources. At an international level, there is a dearth of effective instruments. On a regional level, the Pacific has implemented many ongoing plans which show great promise. To secure a safe future for the oceans, more carefully crafted international instruments which clearly interlock with regional structures are required. Australia, as one of two developed nations in the region, has an important and pivotal role to play in these structures, as a support and facilitator for small island nations.

Main points:

  •   Oceans are a priority point for the Rio+20 talks;

  •   The Pacific region seeks a 'Blue Economy';

  •   There are several effective regional instruments for oceans management already in existence in the Pacific;

  •   A more integrated, consolidated international framework for oceans management is needed; and

  • Australia can play a vital role in providing support and resources for developing neighbours to progress a Blue Economy.

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Lessons from Israel's growth of social enterprise

Hannah attended the 2012 AICC delegation to Israel where she represented Macquarie University. Hannah is studying a Bachelor of International Studies (European Languages) with a Bachelor of Laws Degree.


Social enterprise is now one of the fastest growing sectors of the Australian economy.1 While on an international scale, Australia has often been outperformed and outnumbered in terms of social enterprise engagement, in the past 5 years the number of domestic social enterprises has increased by 37%.2 Universities and higher education institutions are also offering an increasing number of courses in the area after the success of international institutions such as the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Oxford, UK.

This paper seeks to discuss the current status of social enterprise development in Australia, particularly in comparison to the Israeli experience of the subject. Since its inception, Israel has been a hub for technological innovation with developments such as the development of the electric car3 and modern computer chip processing technologies.4 In recent years, it has also become focused on the development of the social sector, and has used its solid history of innovation and its entrepreneurial culture to rapidly invest and emerge as a world leader in this field.

This paper will examine examples of both Israeli and Australian social sector innovation and suggest further actions which may be implemented to further the development of the social enterprise sector in Australia. This includes increased publicity and advertising of social enterprise programs and the instigation of young social entrepreneur competitions as seen across Israel.

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