New women’s taskforce must ensure the upcoming Federal Budget targets gender inequality and provides support to parents, children

From

Georgie Dent

The Parenthood welcomes the Prime Minister’s new women’s cabinet taskforce and urges the group to prioritise significant investment in reducing gender inequality in the upcoming Federal Budget.

“This moment in Australia calls for decisive action: the time for talking and listening is done,” The Parenthood’s executive director Georgie Dent said.

“Women around Australia are looking for action.

“The first order of business for the taskforce, assembled by the Prime Minister to focus on women’s equality, safety, economic security, health and wellbeing, must be to ensure the next Federal budget delivers.”

In its budget submission The Parenthood makes six key recommendations that will improve the lives of women and children:

  • increase statutory paid parental leave for parents and carers
  • make high quality early childhood education and care universally accessible to all children
  • commit to reducing gender inequality and reintroduce the Women’s Budget Statement
  • protect children from poverty
  • support parents and caregivers through family inclusive workplace policies.

The Parenthood Executive Director Georgie Dent said recent weeks have shown the burden women pay for persistent, systemic gender inequality – not only in terms of their financial security but their personal safety.

“It was shameful that women were the losers in the last Federal budget after the burden they carried through COVID19 and the backlash reflected that,” she said.

“There is no way given the past six weeks in which the abhorrent treatment of women inside Parliament House has been revealed that Australian women will stand for being short-changed again.

“This Budget submission includes practical policies that will support all women, as well as deliver big benefits to children, families and the nation.

“The gender gap between men and women in Australia has grown in recent years relative to other countries and we need urgent action to fix it.

“We know mothers are more likely to reduce work time to part-time than fathers (37 per cent against five per cent) and this in part to buffer the family from rising childcare costs[1]. We know that significant structural, systemic and cultural barriers prevent women from engaging in paid work to the same extent as men.

“We know that Australian families are missing out comparative to global peers and it fails to deliver optimal results for women, children, families and the economy.

“The upcoming budget must deliver substantial new investment to ensure universally accessible, high quality early childhood education for at least two years before school as well as increases in paid parental leave. The return of the Women’s Budget Statement is also critical.

“Without very clear substantive changes and systemic policy shifts the Federal government’s commitment to women can only be judged as rhetoric.”

Read The Parenthood 2021-22 Budget Submission. 

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[1]  https://aifs.gov.au/facts-and-figures/work-and-family

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