The Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, welcomes the COAG Reform Council’s report Tracking Equity: Comparing outcomes for women and girls across Australia.
The report is in response to the COAG Select Council on Women’s Issues, to assist in the development of a National Framework for Gender Equality.
Launched on 19 November 2013, the report highlights outcomes for women and girls across their lifetimes – at both the national and state and territory levels.
“The report is important for measuring Australia’s gender equality outcomes, and more importantly, identifies where our future efforts can be best targeted,” Minister Cash said.
According to the report, girls outperform boys throughout school, are more likely to complete Year 12, and are attaining university degrees at a higher rate. Once they enter the workforce, when compared with men, Australian women receive less pay in entry level jobs and throughout their careers, have fewer leadership opportunities and worryingly, are financially less secure in retirement.
“This report highlights that women in Australia continue to be financially disadvantaged, compared to men,” Minister Cash said.
“This gender gap starts as soon as women enter the workforce - with lower graduate salaries, lower average wages and less superannuation than men. This causes increased vulnerability to economic stress in later life.
“This is why the Government’s Paid Parental Leave scheme is so important as it will encourage more women to stay connected to the workforce and help them have more financial security later in life. It is based on actual wages and includes superannuation.
“The Government also understands that women and their families need access to more flexible, affordable and accessible child care. That is why the Government has delivered on its priority commitment to establish a Productivity Commission Inquiry into Child Care and Early Childhood Learning.”
Indigenous women, women from low socio-economic backgrounds and women who have disabilities are more vulnerable to disadvantage.
Women are also more likely to access homelessness services to escape domestic violence.
“Keeping women and their families safe is fundamental – reducing violence against women is a key priority for this Government. The Government has committed to implementing the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022, and will ensure that its programmes are properly resourced and effective,” Minister Cash said.
“We are also increasing measures to prevent violence against Australian women, including an increase in funding to the White Ribbon campaign by $1 million over four years.”
This Government will be working with states and territories to progress this important agenda, as well as ensuring positive outcomes for women in Australia generally.
“We are strongly committed to ensuring that all women are able to lead safe and prosperous lives, and we all need to be vigilant and determined in our efforts to achieve equality,” Minister Cash said.