A new study has found that Australian women are the most economically empowered across the world.
The study by international consulting and management firm Booz and Company found that Australian women are the world's most economically advanced in terms of access to education, market participation and anti-discrimination policies.
AdvertisementDespite Australia still failing to pay women salaries equal to men, the survey found it topped a list of 128 countries in allowing women to play a role as economic agents in their social and political systems.
The study found that Australia was followed by three Scandinavian countries - Norway, Sweden and Finland - and New Zealand was fifth, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
The study found that Yemen, Pakistan and Sudan were at the bottom of the list.
The report called 'The Third Billion Index' argued that while the burgeoning populations of India and China have been given much attention by the media, less has been paid to the 1 billion women who will soon enter the world's workforce.
"There is a clear correlation between ... processes and policies regarding women's economic opportunities and the actual success of women in their national economies," Karim Sabbagh, a partner with Booz and Company, said.
The research also found several common challenges that all women face, regardless of how well the country performed in "empowering women".
"Around the world, women are the primary caregivers for children, the elderly and the sick, and this responsibility hampers their economic development," another Booz and Co partner, DeAnne Aguirre, said.
Helen Conway, the director of the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency, warned, relative to similar countries, the reality in Australia was not as optimistic as the Booz report indicated.
"Australia has a relatively low female workforce participation rate (Australia was ranked 14th in the participation rate of women of the 34 OECD nations in 2010), and a gender pay gap of 17.5% that refuses to budge," she said.