On 20 November, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet released the Women’s Economic Security Statement, a package of initiatives with $109 million funding spread over four years, launched by the Minister for Women Kelly O’Dwyer. The Statement was initially announced in May.

The Women’s Economic Security Statement is built around three pillars to promote greater choice for Australian women:

  • Workforce participation.
  • Earning potential.
  • Economic independence.

The Minister for Women outlined that the Statement aims to help boost women’s education and skills; increase financial literacy and empowerment; and help women get a job or return to work. It also seeks to help women establish and grow their businesses; work with the private sector to close the flexibility gap and gender pay gap; and help improve women’s economic recovery following life changing events, such as separation or domestic violence.

‘Gender equality is recognising that girls and women deserve an equal stake in our economy and in our society’, Minister O’Dwyer said.

Measures to increase women’s workforce participation ($54.8 million over four years)

  • Reinstate 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.
  • Establish the Reducing Barriers to Work Forum.
  • Increase flexibility in the Parental Leave Pay system and extend access through changes to the work test.
  • Support 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.
  • Scholarships for women in economics and finance through the Women’s Leadership and Development Program.

Measures to support women’s economic independence ($35.6 million over four years)

  • Specialist Domestic Violence units and Health Justice Partnerships, including for financial support services.
  • Extend early release of superannuation for victims of domestic and family violence.
  • Expand the No Interest Loan Scheme run by Good Shepherd Microfinance to women experiencing family and domestic violence, to assist with the expenses of rebuilding their lives, such as rental bonds.
  • Legal assistance funding to ensure victims of family violence are protected from direct cross-examination by their perpetrators in family law matters.
  • Improve the visibility of superannuation assets in family law proceedings.
  • Providing family law property mediation.
  • Establish a new Small Claims Property pilots program.

Measures to improve women’s earning potential ($18.6 million over four years)

  • Expand the Curious Minds program.
  • Establish a Future Female Entrepreneurs program in partnership with the private sector.
  • A new grants program, Boosting Female Founders to ensure women can access the finance they need to achieve their entrepreneurial goals.

(Source: News Release | Statement | Speech)


From the blog:

Gender Budgeting as Accountability Initiative: Public Expenditure Effectiveness on Fiscal Space and Gender Equality, by Lekha Chakraborty

Gender Neutral Policies are a Myth: Why We Need a Women’s Budget, by Miranda Stewart

Gender Responsive Budgeting at the OECD, by Monica Costa

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