Since 2014 there has been no Women’s Budget Statement. Now it’s up to an army of volunteers, led by the NFAW’s chair Marie Coleman, to do it.
The Australia Institute’s analysis also indicates that spending cuts mainly disadvantage women who rely on government services more than men. The proposed cuts in the 2014 Budget impacted women more than men: 55% of the cut in incomes was borne by women and 45% by men.
The result is a situation where men get the most benefit from tax cuts while women are more detrimentally impacted by spending cuts.
“The impacts of budget decisions on gender inequality should be a more prominent part of budget decision making,” Grudnoff says. “One way to help achieve this would be mandating that all budget decisions should include a statement showing the impact by gender. This at least would highlight which policies benefit men and disadvantage women.”
Which is precisely why the NFAW prepares its annual report.
Coleman says this year’s budget is “not great” for women although she identifies some small seeds of hope. The fact there were two women on the Expenditure Review Committee, the first time in several budgets, is positive. As is the fact the minister for women Kelly O’Dwyer expressly required the Office for Women to assist her in the ERC role.
In September O’Dwyer will unveil a ‘significant funding’ package to address the economic disadvantage many Australian women face. It’s promising but the budget remains the single most important policy document and to alleviate gender inequality in a meaningful sense requires wholesale reform at that level.