November 26, 2021

Editorial

Commentary

Minderoo Foundation launches major women and girls campaign for election

The Minderoo Foundation has launched a major campaign with the aim of highlighting women and girls as a critical federal election issue. Why? The nation will be healthier, safer, stronger and more prosperous with a government that acts on this urgent call for change.

The speed and strength of Australia’s recovery from a once-in-a-century pandemic will depend on the extent to which women can fully participate in the rebuild” the campaign says. Convened by Minderoo Foundation Co-Chair, Nicola Forrest AO, has brought to together a group of women from diverse backgrounds and experiences to highlight the role of women and girls in the COVID-19 recovery as a critical policy issue for government. 

“COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted women,exacerbated existing challenges and created a wider gulf of disadvantage,particularly for First Nations women, women with disability, LGBTIQA+ and culturally and linguistically diverse women,” it says. 

Its aims include: building a vibrant and globally competitive economy post COVID-19 by on enabling the workforce of today through increased female participation, and the workforce of the future through giving children the best start in life, particularly during the critical early years of their development.  

It is calling for: 

·         A national commitment to develop an “early learning system that is universal, accessible and high quality, delivered by securely employed and properly paid educators and coordinated from infancy through to primary school.”

·        Government funded paid parental leave at the minimum wage for 26 weeks, shared between partners.

·        New policies to protect women’s safety and a future where everyone is safe, free from violence and can participate and contribute equally.

·        Changes to the National Employment Standards to include a minimum 10 days per year of paid family and domestic violence leave for all employees.

·        Investment in preventative and crisis housing for older women and people experiencing family and domestic violence (including those on temporary visas).

·        Implementation in full of all 55 recommendations from the Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner’s Respect@Work report.  

Women for Change says: “COVID-19 has shone a light on the lack of appreciation and respect for Australia’s female dominated care workforces. These industries must be valued if they are to support the demands of the future and contribute to a thriving economy.” 

To do so Australian needs to: 

·        Recognise that increasing female workforce participation to support Australia’s COVID-19 recovery will drive demand for quality childcare, and an ageing population will drive demand for quality aged care, healthcare and social assistance.

·        Change the Fair Work Act to include gender equality as an express object, remove the need for a ‘male comparator’ and establish a new Fair Work Commission gender equality panel.

·        Change income supports which disproportionally impact women, single parents and children based on the principle of ‘do no further harm’. 

Women for Change says we need more women in leadership and calls for: 

·        Ensuring more women including women from diverse backgrounds are in critical decision-making roles will be vital in shaping a post COVID-19 world that is equitable and sustainable.

·        Changing the Workplace Gender Equality Act to require public reporting by all organisations with more than 20 employees, on all indicators including gender pay gap, cultural background and progress towards women in leadership targets.

·        Committing to targets and public reporting on women in leadership in the political and public service sector from 2023.

·        Supporting and funding all seven recommendations of the Wiyi Yani U Thangani Report. 

Signatories supporting the campaign include Nicola Forrest AO, The Hon. Julie Bishop, Kate Carnell AO, Georgie Dent, Kate Eastman, Hon. Kate Ellis, Jacqui Emery, Marina Go, Ming Long AM, Hon. Jenny Macklin, Wendy McCarthy AO, Sam Mostyn, Professor Kathryn North AC, Nyadol Nyoun, Michele O’Neil, June Oscar, Mary Patetsos, Carol Schwartz AO, Professor Miranda Stewart, Natasha Stott Despoja AO, Lucy Turnbull AO, Natalie Walker and Danielle Wood.

The initiative is being promoted with full page in ads in major newspapers.

Women for Progress 2022 | About | The Minderoo Foundation