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Women face 200-year wait for income equality

Woman walking to work in the city. Australian money notes. Income equality concept.
Aussie women will not enjoy income parity with men for at least another 200 years. (Source: Getty)

It will take more than 200 years for Aussie women to have the same income levels as men, new research has found.

The Women’s Health and Wellbeing Scorecard found there was a $23,767 annual income gap between men and women in 2020, and a $44,746 superannuation gap. There was also a 19 per cent gender gap in full-time employment.

According to the Monash-University-led report, it will take 70 years to reach equality on full-time employment and more than 200 years to reach income equity.

Aussie women also had poorer health than men, the report found. In 2020, women reported poorer health outcomes than men in every health domain except general health, including mental health, physical health and social functioning.

“Poor health is known to reduce income, and low income is known to increase risk of poor health, creating a cycle of disadvantage for Australian women, with impact on women from diverse backgrounds even greater,” report co-author and Monash Centre for Health and Research Implementation (MCHRI) director Professor Helena Teede said.

“Women disproportionately have lower income, and less engagement in the labour force, which drives poorer health, even in a high-income country like Australia.”

Women also experienced elevated psychological distress more than men, with rates rising for women aged 18-24 and 55-64 since 2011. This was linked to financial inequality.

“I look back over my life of hard work and family dedication, yet know I can only look forward to major financial struggles, and tough times ahead,” recent retiree Heather shared as part of the report.

“I worry every day about keeping my rental accommodation and being able to manage the basics in my life. It just seems unfair.”

The MCHRI is calling for the creation of a national institute focused on the physical and mental health and well-being of women and girls.

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