Report shows that women’s workforce participation is the shock-absorber during crisis

The Gender impact analysis of the Queensland Budget 2021-2022 report from QCOSS shows the Queensland Government must do more if the gender pay gap is to ever be addressed.

The report was commissioned QCOSS’ Gender Equality Policy Network, which includes 15 community organisations from throughout Queensland.

QCOSS CEO Aimee McVeigh said, “The Queensland Government has made significant progress in identifying and monitoring the broad issues that impact gender equality since 2015. However, the gender pay gap and other gender equality indicators will remain and widen if new, proactive steps are not taken.”

“Women have absorbed the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic – either by reducing their work hours, stepping out of the workforce entirely, or working industries put under enormous pressure by the crisis,” said McVeigh.

The report shows that some of the Queensland Government’s budget measures may be inadvertently entrenching the gender pay gap. One of the most effective ways to gauge the impact of budget measures on gender equality is to invest in a Gender Responsive Budgeting unit, similar to that announced by the Victorian Government earlier this year.

Emma Iwinska, Network Member and CEO at Women’s Health Queensland, said: “A great number of jobs in sectors where women make up the majority of the workforce are low paying, casual or short term contracts. This prevents women from having economic security which strongly impacts their health, wellbeing and independence.

“Not only are women doing the majority of unpaid work, when they are employed they have job instability and low wages. Governments are perfectly placed to invest in new strategies to address these structural inequities.

Tabatha Young, Network Member and CEO of Aboriginal Family Legal Service Southern Queensland, said: “In regional Queensland especially, we need to see greater investment in social and affordable housing options.”

“For mothers escaping domestic violence, the provision of housing is fundamental to a safety plan – they can leave a violent partner and not have to worry about to provide a home for their children. Safe and stable shelter is fundamental to advancing gender equality.”

It would be regional Queensland that would benefit most from policies to boost gender equality, with report analysis showing markedly lower female labour participation in some regions.

QCOSS CEO Aimee McVeigh says, “The winner from improved gender equality would be regional Queenslanders, where the gender gap is considerably wider.”

More data analysis is needed so that women are not treated as a homogenous group.

“To truly understand gender differences we need to understand the diversity of women – including the experience of women with disability, First Nations women, women from cultural and linguistically diverse backgrounds, older and younger women and LGBTIQ+ women,” said McVeigh.

26 July 2021 |Service type: