Not enough: women still waiting on IWD

8 March, 2022

Today, 8 March, is International Women’s Day (IWD).

While it is a day to spotlight women’s diverse voices and acknowledge their successes, it is also a time to reflect on the pervasive gender inequity that continues to impact Australian women.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) described today as a day of “waiting for action” and criticised the current federal government for not doing more to address inequity.

Women in Australian workplaces:

  • have a 2 in 3 chance of experiencing sexual harassment in a current or former workplace;
  • have no guaranteed right to paid family and domestic violence leave, despite a spike in family and domestic violence during the pandemic;
  • rely on the second worst paid parental leave scheme in the developed world, according to the OECD;
  • pay for some of the most expensive early childhood education and care in the world – with early childhood educators being extremely low paid;
  • earn on average $483.30 less per week than a man and retire with half the amount of super; and
  • are more likely to be in low wage, casual, part-time and insecure work.


‘Not enough’

The ACTU said the current federal government had not done enough to support gender equity, highlighting a number of measures that would make a significant difference for working women:

  • introducing stronger equal pay laws in the Fair Work Act;
  • paying superannuation on parental leave;
  • implementing all 55 recommendations of the Respect@Work report, including a positive duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment;
  • legislating 10 days paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave into the National Employment Standards (NES); and
  • introducing free, universal, accessible, and high-quality early childhood education and care delivered by properly paid securely employed educators.

ACTU President Michele O’Neil said Australian women were spending another IWD waiting for change.

“The Prime Minister has had dozens of opportunities to enact change for women over the last year – including by legislating all recommendations of Respect@Work, regulating the overuse of insecure work, increasing the minimum wage to a liveable wage, and introducing free and accessible early childhood education and care – instead at every turn he shrugged off responsibility, did nothing, or blocked progress,” she said.

“After nearly a decade in power, this government has had plenty of press conferences claiming that they support women, but we have very little to show for it.”

IEU campaign for reproductive health leave

As part of our 2022 IWD actions, our union will be hosting an online PD session in the lead up to major sector bargaining on reproductive health leave.

If won, this leave would better support members to manage their treatment and recovery from any conditions related to their reproductive health.

This free event will be held online from 4pm (AEST) on Thursday 10 March and will provide members across Queensland and the Northern Territory with an opportunity to talk, learn and reflect on this important issue.

To secure one of the limited spots available at the session, please register here.


Spotlight on sustainability

This year’s UN Women IWD theme is Changing Climates: Equality today for a sustainable future.

While addressing inequality in the workplace is central to women’s economic security, building a more sustainable planet is also critical to gender equity.

Women and girls face greater vulnerability and exposure to disasters, and conflicts, and yet they remain largely ignored in developing solutions and their capabilities are often under-utilised.

More information about this year’s theme can be found on the UN Women website.


IEU Chapters mark IWD

IEU Chapters participated in IWD events in their workplaces to reinforce the difference union members can make in addressing inequity.

View further IWD updates on our Facebook page.

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