Budget must provide relief to families and women

The upcoming Federal Budget must prioritise investment in targeted policies that will help families and address the gendered impact of COVID19.

“We are in the throes of a pink recession and these circumstances call for concerted, targeted policies designed to limit - not exacerbate - gender inequality,” The Parenthood Executive Director, Georgie Dent, said. “Investing in Australia's broken early learning system is one of the most effective measures to ensure families, women and the economy emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic in better shape.”

In June a survey of 2,200 families by The Parenthood revealed the extent to which COVID19 had adversely impacted finances in Australian households and confirmed the flow-on effect for women would be particularly pronounced.

“Almost half (42%) of families reported at least one parent was earning less as a result of COVID, with 16% of respondents reporting both parents had seen their income reduced,” Dent said.

“A third of parents (34%) reported that they would need to reduce days or remove their children from early learning altogether when out-of-pocket fees returned, and reduce their work as a result. In 68% of those households the parent who would stop or reduce work would be a woman.”

Despite this very few measures have been introduced to combat the disproportionate burden being carried by women. “The Federal government has announced a number of stimulus packages in the wake of COVID19 that have specifically advantaged men.

“It is time to proactively design policies and packages that will deliver for women. Otherwise, the risk of another generation of Australian women being relegated to life-long economic insecurity and poverty is real.”

Making early childhood education more affordable is the answer to lifting Australia out of recession and a brighter future for our children. “Not only would it create employment opportunities in a sector dominated by women, but it would help other women return to work and give Australian children the best possible start to life,” Dent said.