A gender-equal recovery
Uniting Church in Australia President Dr Deidre Palmer has urged the Federal Government ahead of its Budget announcement to take into account the significant impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic that are placing women at a disadvantage.
“The coronavirus pandemic has taken a huge toll on the financial and social wellbeing of all Australians, but it is women who are shouldering the burden and we need to reverse that as the nation recovers,” said Dr Palmer.
“The Uniting Church believes that all people are created equal in God’s image and upholds the mutuality and equality of women and men in all of life.”
“We have an opportunity right now to reset our vision for a gender-equal society and invest in measures and policies that allow women to fully participate in our social and economic recovery.”
The Uniting Church Assembly calls for:
- Investment in the care economy - stimulus funding in areas where women are more frequently employed, including health care, child care, aged care, disability services, education
- Investment in Child Care and Early Childhood Education as industries which employ women and also provide care for children, thus enabling women’s participation in the workforce
- Investment in Family Payments, particularly payments for Single Parent Families which are predominantly women-headed families, as well as supporting housing and economic security and better social and health outcomes for women and children in low-income households
- Investment in Domestic and Family Violence Support programs, reflecting the deeply concerning trend toward increasing instances of violence against women during the pandemic
- Increased financial support to unpaid carers at home, including additional top-up payments to those receiving Carers Payments.
Thus far, the Government’s stimulus funding has been earmarked for manufacturing and building sectors that do not employ large numbers of women.
Women’s recovery from the pandemic has also been slow with women more likely to be employed in part-time, casual, and precarious forms of work which were excluded from the original design of the JobKeeper program.
The first industry to lose Jobkeeper was the Child Care sector in July which employs large numbers of women, and further changes to the program are likely to increase the negative effects on women.
At the same time, women have been more likely to withdraw from their superannuation and more women have emptied their accounts, which increases their vulnerability to poverty in the future.
There are also more women in the healthcare sector working on the frontline of COVID-19 response and women are more likely to care for children and for sick family members at home, heightening stress and limiting their economic opportunities. Read more
“We need to ensure that every decision we make in the budget has in mind the needs of women and girls to ensure there is an equal recovery for all,” said Dr Palmer.
“When we create a society that supports and empowers women there are beneficial flow on effects to families, children, our economy and the whole of our society.”