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Why more women in the workforce is good for our GDP

January 2, 2013

Why more women in the workforce is good for our GDP


The key cabinet documents released this week by the National Archives of Australia tell the stories behind the Hawke government party room debates.

Amongst all the great things he did (yes I am a labour voter and Hawkee fan), Prime Minister Hawke put in place the first affirmative action plan for women and crafted new sex discrimination laws.

In fact Mr Hawke says today that ‘there’s still room to go’ when it comes to womens’ place in business.

He went on to say, “Quite apart from the actual obnoxious nature of discrimination, just in economic terms it’s absolutely bloody absurd not to use and exploit the talents of half the population.”

This reminded me of a conversation Anita (Lady Grey) and I had recently had at a women’s networking function where we chatted to two girls in the mining industry.  Having started with ‘it must be great working with all those blokes’, these women went on to tell us that the best thing was the effect the women had on these guys.

There was direct correlation with women working on the rigs and better productivity.  These ‘blokes’ were starting to make more of an effort, took a little bit more pride in their work and worked that little bit harder.

The evidence that greater gender diversity results in a highly productive and dynamic workforce is compelling not just amongst the mining industry.

Alongside the federal government, the Australian Human Rights Commission completed research involving the leaders of Australia’s largest companies – all of whom agreed gender diversity is an unparalleled source of workforce strength.

Similarly, economic reporting from Goldman Sachs draws an indisputable connection between increased female participation and boosted workplace productivity.

The report states that ‘closing the gap between male and female employment rates would have important implications for the Australian economy. We estimate that closing this gap would boost the level of Australian GDP by 11%’.

Pretty compelling stuff.

So as Lady Grey and I sauntered back to our car after a great chat and a new blog topic, we were grateful that the gender diversity was well covered at BrandHook but hoped that other women could get the same opportunities and contribute as much as we are able to.

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