Gender pay gap should be government priority

In light of the upcoming New Sales Wales and Federal elections, it's time for all levels of governments to prioritise closing the gender pay and investment gaps.

This is according to Claire Braund, founder and director of Women on Boards, a global organisation pushing for gender equality across leadership positions.

WOB advocates for 40% (men), 40% (women) and 20% (other genders) representation on boards, and political and business leadership roles.

Braund said enshrining the 40% principal at the top level in which 40% of the financial assets are owned or controlled by women, would "avoid the perfect of storm of more women living longer, retiring on less and relying on tax payer funded welfare."

"It has been proven over and again that gender balanced leadership leads to better decisions and more equitable outcomes for everyone," she said.

Investments is another area that needs attention, Braund said, adding there are opportunities for funding measures to improve the long-term economic empowerment of women, such as those in start-ups and early stage innovation companies.

Only 2.2% of venture capital goes to female founded start-ups, despite evidence that women have the potential to demonstrate impressive returns from less initial capital, she said.

She is calling for a pre-election commitment from all parties by way of increasing funding for the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, and supporting female angel investor networks.

The ASX Corporate Governance Council recently revised its principles and urged ASX300 companies to have a minimum 30% gender diversity target.

The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) also extended its gender diversity target of 30% board representation women to the ASX300.

For ASX200 companies with one female director, the policy also applies.

ACSI chief executive Louise Davidson said companies with one woman director will continue to attract investor scrutiny until a reasonable gender balance is achieved.

Read more: Australian Council of Superannuation InvestorsClaire BraundLouise DavidsonWorkplace Gender Equality Agency
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