Australia’s early learning system still failing women and girls
8 March 2022 – On International Women’s Day, Thrive by Five Director Jay Weatherill has warned reform of the early learning system is vital for gender equality in Australia.
He said, while the gender pay gap has narrowed over the past decade, it remains persistently high at 14 percent in Australia. This means the lifetime earnings pay gap for men and women who have children is a staggering $2 million.
“Reforming Australia’s outdated early childhood education and care system and funding arrangements will create lifelong economic advantages for women and girls,” he said today.
“You simply can’t achieve gender equality without significant reform of the early learning system, from affordability to availability and action on the workforce crisis in a female-dominated sector.
“Childcare is too expensive, doesn’t meet the needs of women, children and families and in too many parts of Australia is not available at all. This is a massive impediment to women’s economic equality and it shows when Australian women rate equal first in educational achievement, but rate seventieth for economic participation.
“It’s not good enough to just be aware of the problem, we need action.
“The upcoming Federal budget is vital for supporting women and underpinningAustralia’s economic recovery with universally accessible, high quality and affordable early learning, paid parental leave and better pay and conditions for early educators.
“We also need men to choose to be part of the solution –advocating for early learning reform and addressing attitudes, expectations and behaviours that uphold inequality.
“Early learning reform will deliver more for women, more for families and set our children up for the best start in life,” Mr Weatherill said.