We’ve partnered with the University of Sydney Business School to understand the impacts
of COVID-19 on women’s participation in the labour market and how applying a gender lens might
help drive economic growth and build gender equality.
Addressing the fallout from COVID-19, governments globally are pouring billions into stimulating
their economies. Traditionally a key economic driver has been infrastructure delivery, which creates
thousands of jobs and generates a raft of wider economic benefits during construction and once a
project is completed. As an owner and operator of infrastructure that working people use every day,
we understand the importance of this strategy. However, while infrastructure delivery has an
important role to play, the impact of COVID-19 is different from other economic crises and requires
a range of responses.
In previous economic crises, men’s employment suffered more than women’s. However, the fallout
from COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted women’s financial stability.
Early in the pandemic, women lost more jobs and more working hours than men. At the peak of the
lockdowns, women’s employment contracted 7.5%, while men’s fell by 5.8%; and women were
disproportionately represented among unemployed and underemployed throughout most of 2020.
In the research we commissioned from the University of Sydney Business School, lead researcher
Professor Rae Cooper highlights that applying a gender lens to recovery efforts could help create
good jobs that increase women’s participation in the labour market and build gender equality.
“Gender lens investing (GLI) uses gender as a category of analysis across all facets of investment
decision-making. By deliberately incorporating gender into financial analysis, GLI aims to promote
better investment decision making and strong financial returns,” Professor Cooper said.
We are thinking about the role the investment community can play in the economic recovery and
taking steps - like commissioning this research - to understand the gendered impact of COVID-19 and
the type of actions needed to build back better. Supporting an inclusive recovery is strongly aligned
with our purpose, which is to protect and grow the long-term retirement savings of working people.