Dear Prime Minister,
As you know, this week marked International Women’s Day. In line with the theme of IWD21, “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”, we are calling for you, Prime Minister, to address Australia’s gender crisis. We know that while inequality persists, true development and economic growth can never flourish.
While we have made some strides on gender equality over recent decades, we are still falling short for women in almost every workplace, including the Federal Parliament.
Australia’s post-pandemic economic recovery depends on finding ways to support and unlock economic growth and jobs. One way to do this is to unlock the productivity gains that come from increasing women’s workforce participation.
KPMG estimates even halving the gap between male and female workforce participation would increase our annual GDP by A$60 billion over the next two decades.
A major barrier stopping women going to work is the cost and quality of childcare. We see the results in the labour force statistics as women make up just 37.7% of all full-time employees and 68.2% of all part-time employees. More flexible workplaces, with universally accessible high-quality childcare, will deliver more choice.
It is time to recognise that investing in an accessible childcare and early learning system, with valued and well-supported educators, will return a triple dividend: it will improve early learning outcomes for Australian children, increase workforce participation for women, and have long-term productivity gains by contributing to a more skilled workforce.
We, the undersigned, are calling on you, Prime Minister, to ensure the upcoming Federal Budget makes the lives of Australian women easier, not harder.
In previous years, the Budget was accompanied by a women’s impact statement, providing visibility of how key decisions and reforms would impact women’s lives, both professionally and personally. Why was that important statement removed?
We ask that this statement, and the greater transparency it gives on the gendered impacts of the Budget, be immediately returned.
The next Federal Budget should deliver key reforms that support better equality for women, including a commitment to place early learning reform on the agenda of the National Cabinet.
The time is now. We urge you to move towards a better, more equal future.
Nicola Forrest AO, Co-Chair, Minderoo Foundation
Lucy Turnbull AO
Diane Smith-Gander AO
Elizabeth Gaines CEO, Fortescue Metals Group
Rosie Batty AO
Michele O’Neil, President, ACTU
Professor Sandra Eades
Elaine Henry OAM
Hon. Jenny Macklin
Dr Sue Packer AM
Tonya McCusker AM
Stephanie Alexander AO
Ita Buttrose AC, OBE
Professor Marcia Langton AO
Dr Jen Jackson
Professor Sharon Goldfeld
Ronni Kahn AO, CEO & Founder, OzHarvest
Mary Patetsos, Chairperson, FECCA
Dr Jayne Meyer Tucker, Founder, JMTinc
Debby Blakey, CEO, HESTA
Georgie Dent, Executive Director, The Parenthood
Danielle Wood, CEO, Grattan Institute
Correna Haythorpe, Federal President, Australian Education Union
Julia Davison, CEO, Goodstart Early Learning
Prof. Kim Rubenstein, FAAL, FASSA Co-Director, 50/50 by 2030 Foundation
Trish Bergin Co-Director, 50/50 by 2030 Foundation
Sue Kingwill, CEO, Contact
Jo-anne Schofield, National President, United Workers Union
Dr. Cassandra Goldie, CEO, Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS)
Jo Toohey, CEO, The Benevolent Society
Naomi Milgrom AC
Deirdre Cheers CEO, Barnados Australia
Natasha Stott Despoja AO