Recommendations for a 10-year plan for women’s economic equality have been developed by the Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce, advising the federal Government on policies to “unleash women’s potential” by addressing gender inequalities in income, wealth and workplace participation in Australia.
The recommendations were released on Monday by Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Katy Gallagher.
The report highlighted that barriers to women’s full participation are currently costing the Australian economy $128 billion every year, and noted that Australia has some of the most entrenched workplace gender segregation in the OECD.
The taskforce emphasised the value of supporting programs that, like SAGE, enable women to enter and flourish in traditionally male-dominated sectors of employment.
“SAGE urges the Government to implement the comprehensive and recommendations, and to begin that action immediately,” said CEO Dr Janin Bredehoeft.
“This report brings together a suite of policies that have decades of evidence in their favour, and offers an actionable guide for policy-makers,” said Dr Bredehoeft. “We urge the government not to selectively implement these policies but to recognise that they are interlocking and must be introduced in full.”
“The time is now – we simply cannot wait any longer to see these changes.”
The Taskforce included representatives from the Business Council of Australia, Higher Education Sector and the Australian Council of Trade Unions.
Several of the seven recommendations have direct implications for the success for gender equity actions in the higher education and research sector. SAGE supports the calls for government to:
- Use their purchasing and funding power to incentivise businesses and award contracts to those demonstrating action towards creating inclusive and equitable workplaces, and ensure compliance with high standards
- Encourage employers to set gender equality targets and measure them against benchmarks to be set by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, and set targets for number of women engaged through government contracts
- Strengthen employee rights to access flexible work to support reproductive health and family-friendly working practices
- Reduce precarity and provide stronger protections for workers employed in insecure work
- Harmonise anti-discrimination and industrial legislation to create enforceable legal duties on employers to advance gender equality.
Other important recommendations include doubling government-funded paid parental leave and making early childhood education and care truly universal and free.
“By implementing these actions and investing in these programs we can create the policy conditions and settings needed to cultivate workplaces where everyone can thrive.”