Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Women hold the key to GDP growth:

More women in non-traditional industries would help boost economic growth.
By Motherpedia
Date: May 22 2013
Editor Rating:

The underrepresentation of women in industries considered to be male-dominated – such as mining, utilities and construction – is an issue that is not only undermining gender equality in Australia, but is having negative effects on industry performance and the economy, according to the Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick.

To help address the problem, Ms Broderick yesterday released a toolkit to encourage women into male-dominated industries.

“The aim is to encourage dialogue, engagement and sharing of approaches about increasing women’s representation in male-dominated industries,” Ms Broderick said.

“It encourages employers, employees, government, community, and unions to think about the contribution women can make and to actively share strategies for attracting, recruiting, retaining and developing women’s skills in traditionally male-dominated fields.”

While women represent almost 46% of employees in most areas of the workforce, they account for only 12%, 15% and 23% in construction, mining, and utilities respectively.

Recent figures suggest that increasing women’s employment rates could boost Australia’s GDP by 11%.

“Australia ranks fourth in the world in talent shortages and many male-dominated industries are suffering a lack of skilled workers,” Ms Broderick said. “Encouraging greater women’s participation in these industries is one solution that could go a long way to addressing these skills shortages.”

“Our Toolkit is divided into the areas of attraction, recruitment, retention and development of women’s skills in industries that have traditionally remained dominated by male leadership and employees,” said Ms Broderick. “Users can work through or contribute to discussion in all four areas or any of the four that are most relevant to them.”

American billionaire, Warren Buffet, believes that women are the key to the future prosperity of the United States. He argued that most of the first 230+ years of American development has been on the basis of employing and promoting men. He believes that the under-utilisation of women in the American economy is a reason for optimism.

Writing for Fortune magazine, Mr Buffett wrote: “The closer that America comes to fully employing the talents of all its citizens, the greater its output of goods and services will be. We've seen what can be accomplished when we use 50% of our human capacity. If you visualise what 100% can do, you'll join me as an unbridled optimist about America's future.”

* * *

The toolkit is available here.

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