This International Women’s Day (Tues 8 March), The Parenthood is calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to ensure the upcoming Federal Budget addresses women’s equity and delivers on early learning reform.
A recent report by Equity Economics, commissioned by The Parenthood, examined how mothers in Australia fall behind their global peers in regard to workforce participation when they have children – and never catch up.
This is despite Australian women starting at the top of global standings on education levels and working more than women in other countries before having children.
Georgie Dent, Executive Director of The Parenthood, said, “Despite being fantastically educated and skilled, women in Australia remain underpaid, undervalued, underemployed and unsafe in ways men aren’t.
“For First Nations women, culturally and linguistically diverse women, queer women and women with disability the statistics are far worse and the pace of change even more glacial.
“Women will not stumble upon equity by accident; it will be achieved through reform.
“The reality is early childhood education and care is prohibitively expensive, making it harder for women to work at all or in the way they might otherwise choose. The lifetime earnings pay gap for men and women who have children is a staggering $2 million, and lousy early learning options make a significant contribution.
“In February 2021, there were 140,000 Australians who wanted to work, but didn’t because they cannot access suitable or affordable childcare. More than 90% of these people locked out of the benefits of work are women.
“Women need action now, children and families need action now.
“Investing in women and children represents an investment in human capital and potential that benefits everyone and can create intergenerational change.”
The Parenthood asserts the next Federal Budget will be judged as a failure unless it delivers some key reforms that support better equality for women, including:
- funding for universal, high-quality early learning and care;
- an increase in paid leave to be equally shared between both parents; and
- making high-quality 3-year-old preschool accessible in all Australian States and Territories; and
- more respect and better pay for early childhood educators.