Universal Childcare Essential to Reduce 200 Year Wait for Women’s Pay Equity
05 December 2022 – A new report released today by the Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation found that it will take more than 200 years to eliminate the gender pay gap in Australia, and more than 70 years to achieve gender equality in full-time employment.
The report demonstrates that Australia’s expensive and outdated childcare funding arrangements contribute to the gender pay gap, by creating and exacerbating barriers to women’s workforce participation.
Thrive by Five’s Director Jay Weatherill said, “This health and wellbeing scorecard is yet more evidence of how reform of the early learning system is vital for gender equality.
“Australian women rate equal first in educational achievement globally, but rank 38th for economic opportunity, according to the World Economic Forum.“While the gender pay gap has narrowed over the past decade, it remains persistently high and the lifetime earnings pay gap for men and women who have children is about $2 million.
“The high out-of-pocket costs of childcare make it harder for women to return to work and to increase their working hours. As a result, a woman’s pay can be lower over the course of her lifetime, impacting her superannuation and retirement.
“However, one of the most effective ways of improving gender equality and increasing women’s workforce participation is through significant reform of the early learning system.”
Thrive by Five is calling for a universally accessible, high-quality and affordable early-learning system. This includes:
Improving wages and working conditions for the early year’s workforce.
Reforming or simplifying the Activity Test; and
Restoring funding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led child and family centres.
“Making early learning and care more accessible and affordable will improve women’s economic outcomes, increase women’s participation in the workforce, and boost overall economic productivity,” he said.