The Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce (WEET) has handed down its final report Women's Economic Equality: A 10-year plan to the Australian Government. In it, it suggests significant child care changes, saying barriers to women fully participating in the workforce are costing the Australian economy $128 billion.
The taskforce was created last year to provide independent advice to the government to boost women’s involvement in the economy,help achieve gender equality and build on recommendations out of the 2022 jobs summit.
The taskforce delivered a series of short and long-term recommendations to the government, arguing Australian women face "deep and broad-ranging gender inequality" It noted that up to 30 per cent of Australian men did not believe gender inequality exists.
The report makes recommendations across seven key areas that the taskforce argues are economic pillars where inequality is prevalent. They include care, the workplace, education and skills, the tax and welfare system and government processes.
The proposals include extending paid parental leave, which is due to increase to 26 weeks in 2026, to 52 weeks. The leave payment should be increased to a replacement wage level, be broadened to encourage more men to use it and have superannuation paid with it.
Interaction of the personal income tax and welfare systems mean that in many cases, people on lower incomes lose upwards of 90 cents for every dollar of income they earn.
The taskforce found the current system was misaligned, trapping women in poverty and excluding them from fully participating in the economy.
Taskforce Chair, Sam Mostyn, said the report is a roadmap to transforming the economy.
"Women want the same opportunities as Australian men, to better utilise their education and their skills and not be held back by having to take the burden of care, often unpaid or underpaid," she said.
"And they want the persistent barriers that hold women back removed very purposefully, until we get on with the job of building a fairer economy for all.”
The Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Katy Gallagher, thanked the 13 members of the Taskforce for their report.
“Led by Sam Mostyn AO, the WEET has identified the barriers that women face in the Australian economy and provided Government with practical advice on how to address these issues.
“The Government will consider these recommendations alongside the analysis and policy directions of the Employment White Paper as we continue to develop a National Strategy to achieve gender equality that will be released in 2024.”
Download the Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce report as a PDF.