7 March, 2017
The St Vincent de Paul Society is marking International Women’s Day (Wednesday, March 8) with a call on the Commonwealth government to reverse its cuts to women’s incomes and services.
The Society also wants to see the inclusion of domestic violence leave in the National Employment Standards – the minimum set of employment standards that apply to all workplaces across Australia.
“Economic security and violence against women remain two key areas where Australia is lagging in terms of gender equality, and current policy settings are only deepening the inequality experienced especially by single mothers, older women, and those on low incomes”, said Dr John Falzon, National Council CEO.
“Gender inequality and family violence are not being prioritised in current policy and funding decisions. Policies across a range of areas – superannuation, cuts to income support and family tax benefit, cuts to homelessness services and legal assistance – are increasing the financial vulnerability of women.
“The increased casualisation and underemployment of the workforce disproportionately affects women, as do cuts to penalty rates and resistance to domestic violence leave entitlements.
“Women continue to be paid less for comparable work than men, with a pay gap of 23 per cent for full-time work. Despite this, legislation that would hold employers to account for pay parity has been watered down by the Commonwealth.
“We recognise that gender inequality is the root cause of violence against women; that it directly contributes to women’s financial insecurity and poverty; and that it is the basis for older women’s homelessness. Rhetoric alone will not address these issues.”
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