Gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls is imperative towards
creating a better world. The UN’s 5th Sustainable Development Goal aims to end all forms of discrimination against women and girls everywhere*. Eliminating harmful practices that inhibit the participation and active role of women in society would create significant positive impacts on the world. Improved gender diversity across the world would empower and elevate the historically silenced voices, perspectives and ideas of all women. Indeed, the championing of women and realisation of gender equality would generate ideas, possibilities and innovations for our world that may not have been considered before. By allowing women equal access to the skills, opportunities and platform as their male counterparts, the strength, capability and productivity of the world’s workforces would dramatically climb.
According to the Victorian Government, Australia’s GDP would increase by 11% if the gender employment gap was closed and the Australian economy would also gain $8 billion if women transitioned from tertiary education into the workforce at the same rate as men**. Demonstrating the entrenched gender inequality in Australia’s workforce is the size of the predominantly female unpaid care economy which is currently six times larger than the paid care economy**. Incurring major personal costs and serving a critical role in the wellbeing and stability of this nation’s healthcare infrastructure, one of the most disproportionately female dominated workforces in Australia remains unrecognised, and uncompensated.
How businesses can assist with SDG 5:
From a business perspective, increasing female access to capital is critical to improving gender equality. By investing in female entrepreneurs and promoting lending in emerging countries businesses are able to support the creation of businesses by women, jobs for women and increased economic activity and wealth generation as a result for local, domestic and international economies.
Responsible business practices can also reduce gender bias in a businesses recruitment process through the use of anonymous recruiting methods. This practice removes pictures, names and other gender identifiers from the resume of all applicants. The elimination of all gender specific details from both males and female applicants not only removes any gender prejudices within a recruitment process but also allows firms to focus specifically on the skills and assets that the applicant can bring to the business. For businesses, improving hiring practices is indeed for the benefit of both gender equality and the firm.