Speaking at the ALP annual conference, Shadow Minister for Women Tanya Plibersek promised to make equal pay a priority. If elected in 2019, Labor will appoint a Fair Work Commission president who will head a pay equity panel, which will review and make decisions on pay disputes guided by a new equal remuneration principle. Plibersek acknowledged that substantial pay gaps exist across female-dominated industries and announced measures to fairly compensate workers in industries such as early-childcare and nursing will be a priority. She reported that women working in feminised industries such as healthcare, social assistance and education earn $30,000 less than the average man working in male-dominated industries such as mining and construction. Plibersek emphasised that a structural overhaul would ensure low paid workers — too often exploited– would be supported in their pursuits of more equal work conditions and pay.
This month, Nadia Murad and Dr Denis Mukwege were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to combat sexual violence as a weapon of war, taking the number of women to receive the prestigious accolade to 17 out of 106. Both laureates have campaigned bravely and extensively to end impunity for conflict related sexual violence which is key to the women, peace and security agenda. The Nobel Committee noted that sexual violence can significantly exacerbate situations of armed conflict and impede the restoration of international peace and security.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee explained that “a more peaceful world can only be achieved if women and their fundamental rights and security are recognised and protected in war”’. The Committee made it clear that by awarding this prize to people from two different countries they were showing that conflict related sexual violence is a worldwide problem.
The Employing Older Workers report, overseen by the Australian Human Rights Commission, found that age discrimination is occurring at an alarming rate in Australia. Research revealed 32% of Australian employers continue to specify an age limit for job applicants, despite this being illegal. Moreover, 30% of those employers will not employ people over 50, despite two thirds acknowledging that this protocol has lost the business valuable skills and intellectual property. Note: the data in the report is not gendered.
Please read this. Do you know that 45% of single women over 45 are earning the minimum wage or less and all of these are either already homeless or at risk of homelessness because the minimum wage is no longer able to pay the lowest rentals? 330,000 Australian women fall into this category; they are mostly perfectly ordinary white collar workers or pensioners. This is a compelling and well-informed analysis from Christine Kent, a recently retired and now homeless mature age woman who has, like so many other retired professional women, little to no prospect of obtaining public or community housing, or being able to afford market price rentals. This must change, and it is an urgent priority.
Gender inequality increases when children are present. New Australian mothers report twice as much pressure on their time as new fathers following the birth of their first child. This pressure only doubles after the birth of the second child, further widening the gap between heterosexual parents. University of Melbourne academic Dr Leah Ruppanner has researched what's needed: universally accessible high-quality low-cost childcare; flexible work for employees; and school and work schedules that recognise working parents and allow for school holiday care.
In 1984, the Australian federal government introduced the world's first women's budget statement, recognising that budget measures impact men and women differently, but ceased the practice in 2014. Since 1984, almost half of OECD countries have introduced gender responsive budgeting or are in the process of doing so. The ALP is promising to reinstate the women's budget statement if elected. Here, Professors Marian Sawer and Miranda Stewart outline the conceptual and policy innovation represented by gender budgeting, its Australian origins and the global impact of the practice. BPW recognises we need to lobby for women's budget statements at state and federal levels.
Early childhood is a key developmental period when children begin to learn about gender. A group of researchers from RMIT suggest practical ways that parents can raise their children to respect gender equality.
KPMG has produced an analysis of the impact of returning to work or increasing hours can have on professionally qualified working mums. They can lose almost $30 a day in tax, lost payments and out-of-pocket childcare expenses if they increase from 3 to 4 working days per week, and almost $80 a day if they move from 4 to 5 days of work per week. These are just some of the punishing disincentives confronting working mothers up and down the pay scale. KPMG’s study finds Workforce Disincentive Rates of between 75% and 120% are commonplace for mothers seeking to increase their days of work beyond 3 per week.
In their review of the KPMG report, the ABC asks: would you increase your working days from three to four to earn just $2.50 an hour.
BPW Clubs looking to make a difference in the lives of women by advocating directly to parliamentarians will find this gender advocacy tool kit helpful. The advice and information you’ll find here is drawn from the wisdom and experiences of parliamentarians and advocates. This collection of practical tips and policy building advice compiled by University of Canberra PhD student Joanna Richards will help you shape policy for the better. http://apo.org.au/node/193521
In March 2018, the Federal Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, announced a process to establish a National Women's Health Strategy for 2020-2030. Building on the vision and objectives of the National Women's Health Policy 2010, the Strategy will set the strategic direction for substantial improvements in the health of women and girls in Australia over the next ten years. The consultation will close on 5 November 2018. The draft Strategy is now available online for public consultation at:
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