Ok, so the Federal Budget is coming and we’re heading to Canberra to be there where the so called Budget for Women action is being handed down.
But the big question is: does Financy really think this Budget will deliver for women? Well yes, but not enough when it comes to overall gender financial equality.
It’s very likely that the biggest and most significant ticket item has already been announced via the childcare reforms. And that what we need to see in respect to tackling domestic violence will be delayed until later in the year.
With this in mind, what I believe we need is a holistic plan to address gender equality in this country and that needs to wrap in much of the following:
Measures that help close the superannuation gap
- Abolishing the $450 monthly earnings threshold for employers to pay the superannuation guarantee.
- Mandating superannuation on the government’s paid parental leave scheme.
Measures that support boosting women’s workforce participation
- Measures to support and encourage men to equally participate in the government’s paid parental leave.
- Legislation that ensures, where possible, that all employers provide flexible work arrangements, such as part-time and working from home, to primary caregivers.
Measures that support closing the gender pay gap
- Mandatory pay reporting for all businesses to ensure that men and women are paid the same in like-for-like roles.
Measures to support and grow women in leadership
- Gender diversity quotas in leadership for the corporate sector and government
Measures to challenge gender stereotypes in education and at home
- The education system needs to do its part in calling out gender stereotypes in terms of behaviour, conditioning and bias.
- Media campaigns that support challenging gender stereotypes in the home with respect to unpaid work. We need to change attitudes on unpaid work in the home in respect to women’s and men’s work, and challenge how this affects decision-making in education and careers.
The Morrison government is promising to spend $1.7 billion on measures to support female workforce participation and income by targeting childcare reform, such as removing caps on childcare subsidies for higher-income earners and slashing costs for families with two or more children.
While the announcement is a very positive step in the right direction, it still falls short of Labor’s universal childcare which would be much more beneficial to women in terms of supporting their workforce participation.
Recently released ABS data shows childcare costs for parents have increased at a rate far greater than CPI, 3.7 per cent compared to 1.1 per cent respectively. Out-of-pocket costs are now 23 per cent higher than they were six years ago.
“Australia’s early learning and childcare system is outdated and expensive,” former South Australian Premier and CEO of Thrive by Five, Jay Weatherill said.
A national women’s safety summit is also slated for July with the promise of delivering a blueprint for tackling domestic violence against women, which has worsened during the pandemic.
In my opinion we cannot adequately address domestic violence in this country without address financial gender equality. Anything less than a Summit which doesn’t address this, just kicks the can a little further down the road, albeit a lighter one.