Progressing Gender Equity in 2024

Progressing gender equity

As of 2023, Australia’s national gender pay gap stands at 13.3%, translating to women earning $253.50 less per week than their male counterparts. Projections suggest it will take another 26 years to close this gap.

Supporting ANMF’s predominately female membership, the union has strongly lobbied over many years for changes to support equality and close the existing disparity.

While recently, there has been momentum addressing the lack of a national policy to rectify diminished earning capacity throughout a woman’s lifetime, ANMF Federal Secretary Annie Butler said there still remained persistent inequalities between women and men that needed addressing urgently.

“The actions of the government to improve equity for women are to be commended, yet there is much more that needs to be done. Women remain more frequently engaged in casual and part-time work and continue to face additional hurdles contributing to the gender gap in retirement savings. Presently, numerous women find themselves in poverty during their later years, with the next generation of women also at risk.”

During 2023, the Albanese Government’s progress towards the economic equality for women, included improved childcare accessibility, an extension of government-funded Paid Parental Leave from 18 to 26 weeks, industrial relations reforms, and investments in housing and women’s safety.

Recent workplace legislation has also introduced 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave annually for full-time, part-time, and casual employees covered by the National Employment Standards.

During 2023, many of the changes determined by the Secure Jobs, Better Pay Act came into effect. The Act aims to enhance gender equality by making it an object of the Fair Work Act, strengthening equal pay assessments, establishing expert panels on pay equity and care, outlawing pay secrecy clauses, and including gender equality and job security in the Fair Work Act’s objects.

Starting early 2024, gender pay gaps for employers with 100 or more workers will be publicly disclosed on the Workplace Gender Equality Agency website, fostering transparency and encouraging gap closure. The Fair Work Commission gains more authority with new expert panels on gender pay equity and the care and community sector.

Additionally, reforms in relation to superannuation guarantee will see the rate increase from 10.5% to 12% by 2025.

While superannuation reforms are welcomed, Ms Butler said the ANMF will continue to actively pursue further amendments, pushing for mandatory superannuation contributions during all periods of parental leave.

“We will also push for the implementation of a retirement adequacy benchmark that ensures equity for women and calls for a fair distribution of super tax concessions benefiting women.”

In other recent changes to improve inequity, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) was given more scope to address the gender pay gap with the establishment of two new expert panels on gender pay equity and the care and community sector.

The FWC will conduct a review of the seven most commonly used awards. The first priority is to ensure that modern award wages are appropriately set in regard to gender equality and the elimination of undervaluation of work.

The review will also consider whether the terms of modern awards appropriately reflect job security and access to secure work across the economy. This will include provisions around rostering, guaranteed shifts, and permanent, part−time, and casual classifications within the award.

The ANMF, which has long campaigned for these provisions, will persist in actively pushing for increased workplace flexibility for nurses, midwives, and personal care workers, a significant number of whom are women balancing multiple work and caregiving responsibilities.

Ms Butler said there continues to be an urgent need for genuine access to flexible work arrangements.

“Some members have been forced to reduce their hours, or have had to transition to casual roles, or in some cases have resigned due to denied flexible work options.”

“Over the next 12 months and beyond, the ANMF will continue to build on the momentum made in improving equity for women achieved.

“There is much work to be done but we will continue to advocate for women to ensure they have the equity they deserve and free from poverty.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Want more? Read the latest issue of ANMJ



Advertise with ANMJ

The ANMJ provides a range of advertising opportunities within our printed monthly journal and via our digital platforms.