By Ben Wilson
The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) has released a Pre-Budget Brief that shows how women’s economic security has been undermined by government decisions.
It is clear. women have faced the worst in the changes to the tax system, income support ant superannuation.
But the claim that there has been too much focus on job generation in male dominated industries does not hold up. There has been far too little attention to genuine job creation across the board. This does not take from the good work ACOSS does., and it is hoped, pointing this out is aimed at contributing to a better understanding.
Some industries like manufacturing, which and infrastructure building add the value to the economy that funds the provision of services, such as health care, childcare, and education, and much more. It is the taxes of those who have jobs that pays for it all.
This does not mean that these services mainly employing women should not be better funded. Society needs it, and those working in them deserve to be properly paid and treated.
ACOSS is right to say that jobs creation should be a priority over tax cuts for the wealthy and big business, and that the gap between men and women must be closed.
They are also right in saying that social security must be lifted to take people out of poverty, and in the worst cases, homelessness. Women are often the worst affected. The best way to answer this is to join with more to call for a living income and equality.
Women are disadvantaged in superannuation, because they are often on lower wages and do not stay in the same job for as long. This could be solved through equal wages and legislation that guarantees complete portability of superannuation.
Another change would be to increase the supply of affordable housing. A system of free childcare that is large enough to allow both parents greater scope in finding work would especially advantage women.
Unfortunately, the ACOSS response continues to make this an issue between women and men. It should be that the wages and social security systems are designed to cause the problem. It is employers and the government that are failing.
Implying that men are the problem is divisive and will not lead to equality for women.
ACOSS needs to rethink and seek to draw allies, including men, into this cause for women’s economic security
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