Equality is a fundamental human right for all, regardless of gender identity. For the Australian retail sector, the most immediate priority in terms of gender equality is to address imbalances between women and men.
Women control an estimated 75% of consumer spending and represent 57% of the retail workforce. According to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency1 though
Female directors represent 27% of board positions1
Female CEOs lead 17% of Australian retail businesses1
There is a 15% gender pay gap between women & men working in similar roles1
One side effect of this pay gap is lower retirement savings for women. As at June 2019, the median superannuation balance for men at retirement was $178,800 in comparison to $137,050 for women, equating to a 23% gap2 in savings.
In addition, complaints statistics released by the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) reported that 76% of the 479 sexual discrimination claims in 2019-20 were made by women3 and the 2020 Respect@Work Report notes that women are 50% more likely than men to have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.
This imbalance is generally worse for First Nations’ women, women of colour, trans women and women with a disability.
The ARA’s role is to unify our sector behind a common
vision for change, outline the policy and advocacy measures
that will frame discussions with government and other
stakeholders, and support our members’ efforts to address
In addition, the ARA Diversity, Equality & Inclusion Advisory
Committee will also:
To meet our commitment of advancing and promoting gender equality in the Australian retail sector, we need to:
ACTIONSTo improve choice, career progression and financial security for women in retail, the ARA believes the sector will need to:
The following ARA Members support and commit to the ARA's Gender Equality Position Statement.
1 - WGEA Data Explorer - Retail Trade (https://data.wgea.gov.au/industries/76)
2 - Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia, 2022-23 Pre-budget Submission
3 - AHRC 2019-20 Complaints Statistics (https://humanrights.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-10/AHRC_AR_2019-20_Complaint_Stats_Final.pdf)
4 - AHRC Respect@Work: Sexual Harassment National Inquiry Report (https://humanrights.gov.au/our-work/sex-discrimination/publications/respectwork-sexual-harassment-national-inquiry-report-2020)