Equal pay for women in 75 years? Oxfam urges G20 to act on gender gap

Campaigns and Advocacy, Media Releases, News article written on the 14 Jul 2014

Women won’t be paid as much as men for another 75 years, Oxfam Australia said today in a new report that urges G20 leaders meeting in Australia later this year to tackle gender inequality.

The G20 and gender equality – How the G20 can advance women’s rights in employment, social protection and fiscal policies, shows how the G20’s growth ambitions cannot be realised without policies that address systemic discrimination and economic exclusion of women across G20 countries.

The report, co-published with the Heinrich Boell Foundation, is being released as the Business 20 (B20) – one of the satellite conferences in the lead-up to the G20 Leaders Summit – meets in Sydney this week, and ahead of next week’s penultimate meeting of the G20’s Taskforce on Employment in Brisbane.

Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Dr Helen Szoke said that across G20 countries and beyond, women were paid less than men, did most of the unpaid labour, were over-represented in part-time work and were discriminated against in the household, markets and institutions.

The report highlights that, depending on the country context, an extra 20 – 60 per cent would be added to the GDP of individual G20 countries if the hidden contribution of unpaid work – such as caring for children or carrying out housework – was recognised and valued.

“The gap between women and men is yet another form of inequality afflicting G20 countries and it remains entrenched, despite the gains that have undoubtedly been made in some areas,” Dr Szoke said.

The report highlights Australia’s strong policies to support women in the workplace, but shows there is further room for improvement to address negative social attitudes to women and ensure coherence across government policies.

“Through its Presidency of the G20, Australia is well placed to show leadership and push the G20 to make good its promises to ensure that economic growth and employment outcomes benefit women and contribute to reducing income inequality between women and men,” Dr Szoke said.

She said the absence of women’s rights drove poverty, whilst their fulfilment could drive development.

“The G20’s push for growth and development can only be considered inclusive – and can only make a positive difference to people – when women and men have equal opportunities to benefit, human rights are fulfilled and sustainable development is pursued,” she said.

“These are not ‘women’s issues’ alone – they are systemic issues that determine the wellbeing of everyone, in rich and poor countries alike.”

Among Oxfam’s recommendations for the G20 are:  to support an accountable post-2015 UN process and inclusion of standalone goals on extreme economic inequality, gender equality and women’s rights; to target employment policies to create decent jobs for women, eliminate gender wage gaps and occupational segregation; end workplace gender discrimination and promote family-friendly policies such as parental leave entitlements, access to care for children and the elderly, and social insurance, and promote financing of public services to reduce women’s unpaid care work.

In 2012 in the Los Cabos Declaration, G20 leaders committed to tackling the barriers to women’s full economic and social participation and to expanding opportunities for women in their countries.

Read the report at –


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