Greater choice for Australian women: Women’s Economic Security Statement 2018

  • Kelly O'Dwyer Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations, Minister for Women, Member for Higgins

The Coalition Government is delivering practical measures to help give women greater choices about their lives, build financial security for themselves and their families, and grow the Australian economy.

Over the past few decades, Australia has taken great strides in improving women’s economic independence and security.

There are more women in work than ever before, with a majority of the more than 1.1 million jobs created since the Coalition came to office taken up by women; this year has also seen women’s participation in the labour market reach record highs – in October 2018, the women’s participation rate was 60.5 per cent; and the gender pay gap is moving in the right direction, down to a record low of 14.5 per cent.

But despite this progress, some problems still persist. Women are likely to earn less than men; they are likely to work part-time at over twice the rate of men; and at retirement age there is a 42 per cent gap in their superannuation balances.

The Women’s Economic Security Statement is built around three key pillars: participation in the workforce, better earning potential and economic independence.

That is why the $109 million Statement is focussed on assisting women at many different points of their lives, in different parts of Australia, and in different circumstances.

It will help equip them with the tools and support they need to make the best choices about their future.

Whether it is boosting entrepreneurship in girls and young women, bringing business together to help reduce the ‘flexibility gap’ and gender pay gap, expanding the parents who can access parental leave payments and the period the payment is taken, or supporting women in their darkest hour with access to the funds they need to escape domestic violence, the Coalition Government is focused on supporting Australian women.

The Women’s Economic Security Statement won’t just give women and their families’ greater choice, it will also grow the Australian economy.

When women do well, their families do well, and our economy and nation prospers.

The Women’s Economic Security Package ($109 million over four years)

Building on strong foundations

The Women’s Economic Security Package is built around three pillars:

  1. Workforce participation
  2. Earning potential
  3. Economic independence

Measures to increase women’s workforce participation

($54.8 million over four y ears):

  • reinstating the Time Use Survey, a contemporary evidence base to measure women’s economic security
  • improvements to Workplace Gender Equality Agency systems to enhance Australia’s gender equality data and reduce the cost of reporting for business
  • establishing the Reducing Barriers to Work Forum
  • increasing flexibility in the Paid Parental Leave system and extending access through changes to the work test
  • supporting regional employers through the Career Revive initiative to develop action plans for their business to attract and retain women returning to work after a career break
  • providing scholarships for women in economics and finance through the Women’s Leadership and Development Program

Measures to improve women’s earning potential

($18.6 million over four years):

  • an expansion of the Curious Minds program
  • establishing a Future Female Entrepreneurs program in partnership with the private sector
  • creating a new grants program, Boosting Female Founders, to ensure women can access the finance they need to achieve their entrepreneurial goals

Measures to support women’s economic independence

($35.6 million over four years):

  • providing Specialist Domestic Violence Units and Health Justice Partnerships, including for financial support services
  • extending early release of superannuation for victims of domestic and family violence
  • expanding the No Interest Loan Scheme run by Good Shepherd Microfinance to women experiencing family and domestic violence
  • funding legal assistance to ensure victims of family violence are protected from direct cross-examination by their perpetrators in family law matters
  • improving the visibility of superannuation assets in family law proceedings
  • providing family law property mediation
  • establishing a new Small Claims Property pilots program

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