Honouring women’s pandemic contribution
The past two years have been confronting for everyone, but working women have shouldered an enormous burden during this pandemic.
Much of the frontline work has been done by women. Women have lost jobs at a greater rate than men, and women have lost more hours of work than men.
With International Women’s Day next week, March 8, it’s timely to recognise the contribution of women, in all walks of life, who are helping carry us through the pandemic.
We have women in caring professions putting their health and their safety on the line everyday for other Australians.
We have women in schools adapting and pivoting to ensure our kids keep learning.
We have women cleaning the nation’s offices, hospitals, schools, shopping centres, public transport and other public places, fighting the pandemic on low pay and in insecure work.
We have women in tourism, hospitality and retail — sectors hit so hard by the lockdowns.
We have women in our homes, guiding their families through the disruption of a lifetime.
Both men and women have increased their hours of domestic labour during the lockdown, but women have increased their hours much more.
It’s been a massive, often risky, often heroic contribution that women make every day, and we in the Labor party honour it.
Women will be critical to the recovery too. This is where our choices will make our society and economy more, or less, equal as we begin the road to recovery.
This is where the Morrison Government is going wrong: with an industrial relations approach to making it easier to sack people, particularly low paid and vulnerable workers.
We know that women, when they rely on award payments, have been severely affected by changes to the industrial relations regime.
We see broken promises on superannuation when we already know that women are retiring with about half of the superannuation savings of men. This is particularly bad as we know that older single women are the fastest-growing group of people going into homelessness.
Labor has a different agenda for the economic recovery. It is one that recognises that until wages start rising again people won’t be confident to spend and help to create jobs for others.
We recognise the growing epidemic of job insecurity and we have a plan to create good, permanent work while closing the gender pay gap.
It’s a plan that makes childcare much more affordable for working families.
That’s how Labor honours women’s contribution; by creating more opportunities for women as a foundation to enable women to work, raise a family and plan for a secure retirement.
This will help drive our recovery and build a better, fairer country for all Australians.
Libby Coker MP
Federal Member for Corangamite