The FPA has used their pre-budget submission to the Australian Treasury to propose numerous policy steps government can take to rectify gendered financial disparity.
The submission included three recommendations to address gendered financial inequality.
These included the addition of a superannuation contribution component to the Paid Parental Leave scheme, requesting the Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner monitor the retirement income gap, and funding a financial literacy strategy for women.
The submission said these initiatives would have “widespread benefits for women throughout their working lives and for the economy more broadly”.
For example, the submission cited research from Mercer that found “retirement programs that address different work arrangements (such as part-time or work breaks)” are typically associated with increased female representation from the professional to executive levels.
“According to Mercer, there is a clear link between ‘women’s participation in the workforce and economic growth’,” the submission said.
Commissioning the Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner to monitor and report on “the gendered nature of the retirement income gap, including the sufficiency of the pension” would also provide government with better data with which to initiate reforms.
“Given that women make up the majority of people living solely on the age pension, and that they live longer, the level of the age pension is relevant to their financial citizenship,” the submission said.
“Structural reforms must be underpinned by quality data and a strong understanding of the interaction between the policy settings in each of the three pillars of the retirement system.”
Likewise, the submission said better engaging women with their finances and improving their financial literacy should be a priority.
“We believe more can be done to teach and engage with women about their finances. Most importantly, more needs to be done to reach out to women, not just make information available to women who seek it,” the submission said.
“The Office for Women is ideally placed to co-ordinate a campaign to improve the financial literacy of women. Many of the points at which women already interact with the federal government (for example, through Centrelink, the MyGov website) and state government (for example, maternity hospitals and baby health nurses, aged care workers) could be used to push financial information out to women.”
The FPA added that the financial literacy program they are currently developing will include a portion targeting women.
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