Today, the country’s largest union, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) is marking International Women’s Day (IWD) 2019, celebrating the crucial role women play in Australia’s health and aged care systems.
Federal Secretary Annie Butler said IWD 2019 is an important event for the ANMF and its growing membership across the country, with women comprising almost 90 per cent of Australia’s nursing and midwifery workforce.
“We’d like to wish all of our members working in nursing, midwifery and aged care and all women across the community, a happy International Womens Day,” Ms Butler said today.
“IWD is a great opportunity for us to celebrate the significant contributions nurses and midwives make and the care they provide to the people they care for, whether it’s in a hospital, the community, a clinic or an aged care facility.
“But it’s also important that we use IWD to highlight the ongoing challenges women still face throughout their working lives. These include the pay gap between women and men; the loss of income women experience when they take maternity and family care leave; right through to their retirement when they are financially disadvantaged as a result of career breaks for family reasons and their reduced superannuation earnings.
“Our members in aged care are doing it especially tough with nurses and carers struggling in an undervalued and underresourced sector where they are paid less, are more likely to be in insecure work and lack opportunities for career professionals. This is coupled with, as we’ve already heard in evidence presented to the Royal Commission, unreasonable workloads which means that vulnerable nursing home residents are suffering, through missed care because of lack of staff.
“On behalf of women working in aged care, where they represent 94% of the workforce, the ANMF will be fighting hard in this election year, for the introduction of mandated minimum staffing levels in aged care.
“The theme for IWD this year is ‘More Powerful Together’, and that’s the message from the ANMF, as our members, health professionals; residents and their families and consumer groups, all join together in calling for an end to the crisis in aged care.”
The ANMF, with over 275,000 members, is the industrial and professional voice for nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing in Australia.