12 March 2024

Government launches first national strategy for gender equality

| Chris Johnson
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Minister for Women Katy Gallagher launched the government’s strategy for gender equality in her address to the National Press Club. Photo: Region.

The Federal Government has marked International Women’s Day with a plan aimed at “creating a better, gender-equal Australia for everyone”.

Released by Minister for Women Katy Gallagher, the Working for Women: A Strategy for Gender Equality outlines where the government will focus its efforts over the next decade to achieve gender equality.

The strategy states its vision is for an Australia where people are safe, treated with respect, have choices and access to resources, and have equal outcomes regardless of gender.

“This strategy responds to what women and others across the Australian community told the government in a consultation process involving thousands of people and organisations,” the strategy document says.

“The lived experience and expertise shared in these consultations made it clear that while Australia has come a long way in recent years and decades, there is an urgent need for change.”

There are six fundamental principles guiding the strategy:

  • Gender equality is a human right. It is necessary for the dignity and full potential of all people
  • Gender equality benefits everyone, and everyone is responsible for bringing about change
  • Efforts to drive gender equality must be inclusive and intersectional
  • Efforts to drive gender equality for First Nations Australians must be led by First Nations Australians
  • Action on gender equality must be evidence-based and informed by lived experience, and
  • Gender equality must be considered from the outset and must include diverse representation in decision-making, design and implementation of solutions.

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The plan discusses where investments can be made to improve women’s safety.

It points to significant industrial relations changes, targets for women on government boards and changes to government procurement rules making it harder for businesses without a staff gender balance to win contracts.

The strategy also commits to addressing gender bias in the health system.

Launching the plan during an address to the National Press Club on Thursday, Senator Gallagher also announced the government’s plan to add superannuation to government-paid Paid Parental Leave from 1 July next year.

In a powerful speech, Senator Gallagher said while much has been achieved for gender equality in Australia over the past decades, much remains to be done.

“Despite it being 2024, women in Australia still face barriers which mean they work less, earn less, and retire with less,” she said.

“And when they take time out of work for children, ‘the motherhood penalty’ kicks in.

“Women are less likely to work in senior management positions and more likely to work in insecure part-time roles where the pay is less, and the work is less valued.

“Women experience unfathomably high rates of domestic, family and sexual violence – with more than one in two women experiencing sexual harassment in their lifetime and a quarter of women having experienced intimate partner violence in their lifetime.”

She added that First Nations women are six times more likely to die from assault related to family violence than non-Indigenous women.

She said it was “absolutely chilling” that since 1989, more than 2369 women were killed in Australia by their intimate partner or other family members.

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“In developing this strategy, it was incredibly important that it wasn’t just another bureaucratic document or words on a page,” Senator Gallagher said.

“Because women in this country don’t need another empty promise. They need action and accountability.

“For our government, Working for Women is a commitment to the women and girls of Australia.

“To a little girl who is born today, that by the time you go to school, you won’t have preconceived ideas about girl jobs and boy jobs.

“That by the time you choose the subjects you study, you don’t self-select out of maths or science and technology if that’s what you’re interested in.

“That as you grow up, you and your male peers learn about respectful relationships and enthusiastic consent rather than how women should protect themselves and their friends from the threat of violence.

“That you aren’t paid less because of your gender – and that, if you make the choice to have children, that this decision won’t impact on your future earnings, and that you’ll be able to retire with security.

“This is the real, human story of what Working for Women is written to achieve.

“And while our focus is on women, this is not only about women. The national strategy envisions a future of equality in Australia – for all Australians.”

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Tiffany Mahon6:56 pm 10 Mar 24

This an exciting initiative from a genuinely clever, honourable and passionate politician. Thanks Katie G for your commitment and forward thinking initiatives on behalf of all Australian women. Policy for women by women is the future. Everyone will benefit, the only challenging aspect of this policy is that it is new and different and people struggle with change. However, the change in focus is long overdue.

GrumpyGrandpa9:07 pm 09 Mar 24

Interesting that the strategy also commits to addressing gender bias in the health system.

I guess we’ll be seeing a drive to ensure 50% of nurses are male. Maybe we’ll see 50% of teachers being male – 50% of teachers being male would see some male role models back in our schools.

Let’s hope it’s a 2-way street.

Tiffany Mahon3:55 pm 10 Mar 24

That would be great as the evidence suggests that professions which are dominated or at least equally represented by men attract the best salaries. As a teacher I am all for it.

Stephen Saunders7:15 am 09 Mar 24

The paradox is that woke identities (race, sex, gender) are front and centre, but actual equality (noting falling productivity and GDP per capita, collapsing household incomes and real wages, all-time rental crisis and housing un-affordability) keeps going backwards.

Can this be rebalanced? No, woke has won.

Tiffany Mahon6:58 pm 10 Mar 24

The only way to achieve equality is to focus strong policy on it and bring people along with the change.

So when the budget is a mess she can point to the false gender equity (falsely equality) non sense.

Labor demanded they drop equal parentage in the family court. They only believe in equity at all costs for women.

Tiffany Mahon7:01 pm 10 Mar 24

The only way to achieve equality is to focus strong policy on it and bring people along with the change. Change is hard because it challenges peoples values and the status quo. Women matter and are finally being considered. Everyone will win.

Elle Cehcker5:15 pm 08 Mar 24

How come when it comes to gender equality jobs, no women are jumping up and down to get into dogging, pipe work, brick laying, mining, truck driving concreting etc…

Perhaps a solution might be to encourage a large number of the men who get paid the most to start identifying as women.

That might shift the statistics a bit.

The strategy is pretty much meaningless generic waffle.

Trust Labor to be dealing with the important issues.

Our bureaucrats firing out some fine orwellian policy here.

“Efforts to drive gender equality must be inclusive and intersectional”

Some women are more equal than others indeed. They’ll lose the gender critical fems with this one too.

“Action on gender equality must be evidence-based and informed by lived experience”

So as with all postmodernist crap, they’ll discredit any evidence and abide by lived experience, because you know ‘feels’.

Worst of all this will achieve little other than bloating the bureaucracy.

GrumpyGrandpa11:18 am 08 Mar 24

I have worked in various jobs over some 45 years and never in any of that time was there any difference in the hourly rates, paid between males and females.

What is true however is that some females, worked shorter shifts or were attracted to different roles, bases on their own family circumstances.

Some would appear to call that gender inequality because Male A and Female B, weren’t paid the same take home pay. I call it a family- friendly work environment.

My wife, only ever worked in part-time roles. That was a decision we made. It enabled her to raise our family. In any respect, the jobs she had were not the same jobs I had; different employers, different industries. I sometimes worked 10 hours a day and through to the wee hours.

If there are cases of males and females doing the same job and working the same hours, in roles that aren’t based on individual output/sales achievements etc, then sure, that is absolutely abhorrent and needs to be stamped out.

However, much of this I think is horse excrement.

Well we don’t want inconvenient things like facts get in the way do we ?

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