Kate describes the ‘forgotten women’ as part of the great middle class of Australia. They are not poor, but not rich. Once told they could do anything with their careers, they have gotten themselves educated and started climbing the ladder in professional careers. If they go on to have children, however, they find the system is seriously rigged against them. From unaffordable childcare, to inflexible work practices, continued social norms regarding who does what at home, and school hours that simply don’t match an office career. . . .
“What they are finding is that they can get an education, get a profession, but still once they have children – and the second child seems to be the tipping factor – the way the childcare system is arranged can be a disincentive for me to keep working, particularly working full-time.” . . .
Kate adds that a Productivity Commission would be able to take a helicopter view by taking submissions across the board regarding what’s getting in the way of women’s workforce participation. “It would also look at women who are retiring into poverty because of the superannuation gap and also the gender pay gap.”