A new report has revealed that the gender pay gap has blown out to the depressing point where it would take us more than 200 years to reach income equity and 70 years for equality in full-time employment to be achieved.

The Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation (MCHRI) has released its annual Women’s Health and Wellbeing Scorecard on Monday which captures the state of women’s welfare. This year’s report found that while employment is slowly improving over time, there was a 19 per cent gap in full-time jobs between men and women throughout 2020 — when Australia was deep in its COVID lockdowns.

The report also found that while women’s average income and superannuation balances have increased since 2001, there’s still a massive gender pay gap that would take more than 200 years to close at current rates. Which will come first, pay parity or the heat death of the universe?

It was found that these lower incomes had a knock-on effect on women’s overall health, which is no real surprise. The MCHRI report found that women rated lower than men in every health indicator except general health in 2020. About two-thirds of women responded with poor physical and social functioning, low levels of vitality and poor mental health.

In particular, women aged 18-24 reported the highest percentages of elevated psychological distress across all years which spiked to more than 20 per cent in 2020.

MCHRI researchers are working on forming Australia’s first Institute of Women’s Public Health, Wellbeing and Equity off the back of the report’s bleak findings.

Per the report, the proposed institute will “relieve the burden on women and their families by concentrating on prevention and working across the social determinants of health” and have a “strong focus on financial insecurity and equity, and the way these factors influence health and the need for policy and systems change”.

It will work to advance policy and population with health priorities, create successful, evidence-based solutions from diverse experts, bring together experts from a heap of sectors to bring equity in health and wellbeing and give women a voice in person-centric support and care.

Can’t come soon enough, honestly. This is a fkn grim way to start the week.

Image: AMC / Breaking Bad