Australia’s leading parent advocacy group, The Parenthood, has congratulated the Victorian Government for establishing an Independent Inquiry into Economic Equity for Victorian Women.
The Parenthood Executive Director Georgie Dent has called on other states to follow Victoria’s lead and engage women and the broader community on solutions to gender equality and address key barriers to women’s workplace participation, such as the cost and availability of early education and care and paid parental leave.
“The delay in reforming Australia’s early learning and childcare system is locking a generation of women out of their preferred participation in the workforce and holding back gender equality,” she said.
“We’re missing out on a huge potential workforce boost, not to mention the innovation, creativity and success that women could better contribute if Australia did more to support parents of young children.
“It was devastating when a recent survey of 1700 parents by The Front Project found
52% of those using early education and care agree ‘it’s hardly worth working’ once the cost of care is considered. That is more than half of families telling us that once they have factored in the out of pocket cost it’s hardly worth them working.
“A UNICEF report has also revealed Australia is falling behind other wealthy nations when it comes to early learning and paid parental leave. Australia ranked 34 out of 40 on affordability of childcare and 37 out of 41 on access to parental leave.
“We’ve got to do more to support women and parents and it starts with both the introduction of universal accessible, high-quality and affordable early learning and expanded parental leave.
“I’m also interested to see what Victorian women tell this independent inquiry will make a difference in their lives, particularly First Nations women, women from diverse heritage and women who live in rural and remote communities. For too long, their challenges to equality and taking part in meaningful paid work have been ignored.
“The goal is for Australia to be a nation in which all women and their children can live and work freely and safely and reach their full potential,” Ms Dent said.
Further details on the Independent Inquiry into Economic Equity for Victorian Women online here: https://www.dtf.vic.gov.au/genderinquiry