This week’s jobs summit must make concrete commitments on increasing childcare subsidies, expanding parental leave and revaluing “highly feminised industries” to help improve women’s workforce participation and ease the skill shortage crisis, influential teal MPs say.
Federal Minister for Women Katy Gallagher pledged that the care economy, training opportunities and the pay gap would be addressed at the summit in one of the first sessions on the agenda, although she was unable to confirm attendees or Labor’s key policy priorities for the discussions.
The independent MP for Goldstein, Zoe Daniel, and for Warringah, Zali Steggall, said there was a slew of reforms or reviews the government and summit participants could commit to…
Ms Daniel added: “Despite all the progress that we have made, women still tend to be the ones who stay home or work part-time because they usually earn less, and when childcare is expensive, inflexible, or unavailable that becomes the default position.”…
Women were also increasingly victims of “the sandwich generation” which involved them giving care to both children and elderly parents, Ms Daniel said, which meant they needed more consideration around workplace flexibility.
She also pointed to improving the gender wage gap – which sits at 14.1 per cent in Australia and is worsening – as a “blindingly obvious opportunity that is staring us in the face” to improve women’s workforce participation.
She said the importance of “highly feminised industries” such as caregiving had to be revalued and roles within them paid more, with degree or certificate four-qualified women in such sectors earning about 33 per cent less than men in male dominated industries.
“This is not because they don’t work hard, or add just as much value, this is simply a societal mindset issue. It’s time to change it,” the former journalist said.