According to the World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report published in October 2016, Australia fell from 15 in 2006 to number 46 in 2016. Australian women’s low workforce participation rates were cited as one of the key drivers behind Australia’s dramatic slip in just ten years.
The government’s omnibus savings bill is still on the table, though it is unlikely to pass. It proposes significant changes to parental leave and childcare subsidies, all in the name of making it ‘fairer’. The whole plan, frankly, is pants.
The changes aren’t radical enough and go nowhere near addressing the barriers to high quality affordable childcare and parental leave that keep mums out of work. Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins said so in remarks to a recent Senate inquiry on the bill. And on that basis the Human Rights Commission rejected it.