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Working women of the world rejoice! By the time your great-granddaughter finds herself a job, equal pay might finally be a reality.

At the current rate of change, it will take 75 years for women to get paid on par with men, according to research released on Monday by Oxfam.

Around the world, women are paid less than their male peers, are over-represented in part-time work and are discriminated against in the household, markets and institutions.

In Saudi Arabia more than 80 per cent of women are not employed, in the United States there is no mandated maternity leave and women everywhere subsidise the economy with unpaid work.  

But this is not a “women’s issue’’, points out Oxfam International head Winnie Byanyima, but rather “systemic issues that determine the wellbeing of everyone, in rich and poor countries alike”.

In Australia, about 65 per cent of women work but they are over-represented in part-time and casual work, and women's wages are about 65 per cent of men's.

Policies such as Australia’s sex discrimination regime – which forces workplaces to monitor and report on gender equality – have fostered more supportive workplaces for women, Oxfam found.

But there is a large gap in the levels of retirement saving, with Australian women losing out because of more varied employment.  

While the gender gap has narrowed between men and women in some areas, such as education, it has persisted in others, including participation and freedom of movement.

The relationship between women’s paid and unpaid workloads – caring for children, looking after the elderly – is the most neglected systemic issue in economic policy-making, the report says.

Globally, women are subsidising the economy with an average of two to five hours of more unpaid work than men, Oxfam found.

If women’s paid employment rates were the same as men’s, the GDP in the US would increase by 9 per cent, the European Union’s by 13 per cent and Japan’s by 16 per cent.

The report, published to coincide with a meeting of global business figures in Sydney this week in the lead-up to the G20 in Brisbane in November, calls on countries in the G20 to make gender participation central to any reforms.

Only one high-income country in the G20 – South Korea – has achieved greater income equality alongside economic growth in the past 25 years.