As union members, we spend most of our days thinking about how to develop and promote equality and fairness in our workplaces and our communities. International Women's Day is an important date to help us highlight why it's imperative to continue to work towards gender equality in all parts of our lives.
Every year there is a theme for IWD that focuses on different aspects and causes of the gender pay gap. This year's theme for International Women's Day is Cracking the Code: Innovation for a gender equal future.
The global gender digital gap has not decreased in over a decade. It means that women are missing out on the opportunities and innovation new technological advancements can create. We know that across the planet, there are 250 million fewer women online than men and 327 million fewer women have access to a smartphone than men.
This type of divide has real economic effects for developing countries - resulting in a combined $1 trillion dollars shaved off the GDP of those countries. This loss of economic activity overwhelming affects women and entrenches the gender pay and digital gap.
We also know that women are grossly underrepresented in STEM workplaces. Globally, figures put women in STEM at 20% of total participation. We know we can fix this by making access to education a priority, to ensure girls go into STEM and envision a world where those opportunities are available to them later in life.
Read more about this year's IWD activities and themes here.
Our national union, the Australian Services Union, is currently running a number of campaigns aimed at reducing the gender pay gap, chiefly among them is the campaign to to boost women's super.
The superannuation system is failing women:
- 1 in 3 women will retire into poverty
- The superannuation balances of women are 47% lower than for men
ASU members and officials will be in Canberra this week lobbying the Government to pay super on parental leave. They will be calling on our parliamentarians to:
- Help close the gender super gap by paying super on paid parental leave as well as on all government carer and family payments.
- Put in place structures that encourage superannuation contribution sharing when only one parent is working.
- Fund government co-contribution top-ups for workers who are not on track for a decent retirement.