A new report by Equity Economics commissioned by The Parenthood has revealed Australian mothers fall behind their global peers in regard to workforce participation when they have children and never catch up. This is despite starting at the top of global standings on education levels.

This gap is costly from a social and economic perspective at an individual and collective level; it relegates too many women and children into poverty or financial insecurity, entrenches gender inequity and hampers national productivity. While the motherhood penalty persists everywhere, among developed countries few have done as little as Australia to tackle it.

While the motherhood penalty persists everywhere, among developed countries few have done as little as Australia to tackle it.

Georgie Dent   Executive Director   The Parenthood

Since 2006 when the World Economic Forum published its first Global Gender Gap Index Australia has consistently held the number 1 rank for the educational attainment of women and girls.

There are few nations in the world that guarantee girls and women access to education as consistently as Australia. But while we have retained the top rank for educational attainment, when it comes to economic participation women in Australia lag their global peers. Back in 2006 we ranked 12th for women’s workforce participation but since then we have steadily slid backwards and in 2021 Australia fell to 70th on this measure.

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