Despite the pandemic and subsequent recession adversely affecting women more than men, women are recovering faster, according to Financy.
The Financy Women’s Index rose by 2.2% in the September quarter thanks to factors such as a high in female ASX 200 board appointments and a narrowing of the gender gap in the underemployment rate.
The timeframe to Australia achieving economic equality was unchanged at a revised 32 years.
The number of women with ASX 200 board positions now stood at 32.1% of board positions, as of the end of October, which was up from 31.2% in the June quarter and nearly triple the rate of progress a year ago.
Looking at sectors, arts and recreation, and accommodation and food services both hired 19% more women during the quarter, reflecting a return of jobs that may had been lost or reduced during the pandemic earlier in the year.
However, older women and those aged 15-24 fared worst by the job losses and the index said those two groups had not yet seen the benefit in new appointments.
Bianca Hartge-Hazelman, author of the index, said: “Whilst this result gives us more reason to feel optimistic as we approach the end of 2020, the situation remains volatile and time will tell if COVID-19 has short or long-term impacts on women’s progress and economic equality.
“COVID-19 will leave two legacies for women. The first lies in the direct impact on women as workers, often casual, in the most vulnerable sectors, and as primary carers.
Nicki Hutley, partner at Deloitte Access Economics, said: “The second, and more important legacy will be the policies implemented to address those imbalances to ensure when the next shock occurs – be it another virus, extreme weather disruptions or financial sector driven – women do not again bear a disproportionate burden”.