Gender Strategy Still Making Women Wait For Equality

Australian Greens

Today’s Gender Equality Strategy: Working for Women has finally been released, but as we have come to expect from this government, it’s big on flourish, short on detail and comes with unnecessarily long wait times.

As stated by Greens leader in the Senate and spokesperson on Women, Larissa Waters

“Women have been waiting for the Gender Equality Strategy since the election, and now women have to keep waiting for much of what’s in the strategy.

“We welcome Labor’s support for Greens’ policy to pay super on parental leave, but why make women wait until 2025, when there is a paid parental leave bill before the Senate right now.

“Labor has been dragging their feet on all things PPL throughout their first term of government, and now they want women to wait until after the next federal election to get super paid on PPL.

“The Greens would fast-track putting super on PPL through the parliament if the government want to give women this long overdue workplace right by 1 July this year.

“The strategy today was silent on the other much needed PPL reforms, also recommended by the WEET, for replacement wage and 12 months of PPL by 2030.

“We are pleased to see the Government heed the Greens’ call to stop subsidising discrimination, by making companies with over 500 employees ineligible for government contracts if they are not taking steps to close their gender pay gap, but this rule should apply to companies with 100+ employees, and to government grants not just contracts.

“Health is one of the strategy’s priority areas, but the Government response to the Senate inquiry into reproductive healthcare which I initiated is 7 months overdue, with no explanation for inaction. Meanwhile people are forced to travel hundreds of kilometres and spend hundreds of dollars to access surgical abortion.

“Labor’s 2019 election pledge for taxpayer-funded abortions to be offered in public hospitals was good policy; it’s disappointing they continue to back away from it. Abortion care is basic healthcare and it should be available at any public hospital, with no out-of-pocket costs.

“The strategy also focuses on ending violence against women, but in estimates last May the Government confirmed that funding to end violence against women and children is less than half the $1 billion each year the women’s safety sector says is needed.

“Violence against women and children has not reduced since the first National Plan to end it 12 years ago. Labor must provide the funds required for the National Plan to succeed, or they risk squandering another 10 years, and more women’s lives.”

As stated by Greens spokesperson on employment Senator Barbara Pocock

“It’s great to see the Minister for Women adopting the Greens policy of super on Paid Parental leave. But as usual Labor’s gender equality plan is too little too late.

“One-third of the gender pay gap is attributed to time spent caring for family and interruptions to full-time employment. The Government knows this is a key factor in women’s inequality, yet their response fails to adequately address this.

“We need to demolish barriers to women participating equally in the workforce by introducing free childcare, a minimum of 12 months paid parental leave now, not after the next election, and we need workplace policies that encourage men to take on more of the unpaid work that women do, like caring for children, elderly and disabled family members, and household duties.

“We heard plenty of evidence at the Work and Care Inquiry, which I chaired, that predicts huge economic benefits through raising women’s participation in the workforce. In fact, if women’s participation matched that of men, GDP would increase by almost 9%. That’s an extra $30 billion added to our economy by 2050.”

/Public Release. View in full here.