Economic factors remain one of the biggest barriers to gender equality globally. Around the world, women earn an average of 10 per cent to 30 per cent less than men doing the same type of work. Women also do the majority of unpaid work, which is critically important to society.
Gender inequality in the work force costs the Asia-Pacific region up to $US47 billion every year and up to $US30billion as a result of gender gaps in education.1 When women are excluded from employment, or when their labour isn’t counted as part of the formal economy, the economic costs affect everyone regardless of gender. When women have equal access to work opportunities, everyone benefits.
To promote an equal future for women, ANZ is partnering with the International Women’s Development Agency.
Standing up for women’s rights in the Asia-Pacific region
IWDA is the leading Australian agency entirely focused on women’s rights and gender equality in the Asia-Pacific region. It stands up for women and girls by tackling issues of power, money and security.
The agency works with women’s rights organisations across the Asia-Pacific region to improve access to savings and financial services, helping women toward economic security. It promotes women’s equal participation in community decision-making around financial resources.
Driving financial services access in Solomon Islands
Independent access to money is important for women almost everywhere. But for many women living in Solomon Islands, the nearest bank is often hours away, and travel can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. This physical barrier to reaching financial institutions hugely restricts women’s economic freedom in a way it doesn’t for men – who usually don’t have the same duties of childcare and home responsibilities, or concerns for personal safety. And with gender-based violence affecting 64 per cent of women in Solomon Islands, keeping money in the home can be a risk.
Recognising the issue, ANZ has partnered with the Australian Government to expand access to banking services and financial literacy training in rural areas in the Solomon Islands. ANZ goMoney was the first mobile phone banking channel in the Solomon Islands. Under the partnership we are targeting 65,000 new goMoney mobile phone banking customers: 35,000 will be previously unbanked customers from rural areas and at least half of those will be women. This support will help achieve the goal of increasing access to financial services to rural and remote Solomon Islanders, particularly women.
IWDA supports women in Solomon Islands to access financial institutions and take control of their economic future. IWDA partners with local women’s organisations West ‘Are‘Are Rokotanikeni Association and Live & Learn to support rural-based women’s savings clubs. These clubs promote self-reliance and economic empowerment for their rural women members – saving more than $SI1 million ($170,000) to date.
A global problem
Structural bias is holding women back financially, from Solomon Islands to every country on earth. In Australia the average woman will earn $700,000 less than a man in her lifetime and retire with about half the superannuation. It’s time to recognise that financial inequality between women and men isn’t an accident – it is the result of systems across businesses, communities and government that weren’t designed with women in mind. Join ANZ and IWDA as we work to redesign systems, so every woman and girl in Australia, our region, and the world, can have an equal future.