Ita Buttrose, Lucy Turnbull and more call on the PM to “address Australia’s gender crisis”

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Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Source: AAP/Mick Tsikas.

A number of prominent Australian women have signed a letter addressed to the Prime Minister urging him to correct the injustices of workplace gender inequality.

“We know that while inequality persists, true development and economic growth can never flourish,” the letter begins.

“We are still falling short for women in almost every workplace, including the federal Parliament.”

The letter comes a few months before Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is set to make his budget speech for the 2021-2022 financial year — the precise date of which is yet to be confirmed.

The letter addresses the need for Morrison’s government to “unlock the productivity gains that come from increasing women’s workforce participation”.

Signed by female leaders including Rosie Batty, Lucy Turnbull, Ita Buttrose and Ronni Kahn, the letter underscores statistics from KPMG which showed that even halving the gap between male and female workforce participation would increase the nation’s annual GDP by $60 billion over the next two decades.

It identifies the importance of the government to provide better childcare services and stronger infrastructure of the industry.

“A major barrier stopping women going to work is the cost and quality of childcare,” the letter states.

“More flexible workplaces, with universally accessible high-quality childcare, will deliver more choice. It is time to recognise that investing in an accessible childcare and early learning system, with valued and well-supported educators, will return a triple dividend: it will improve early learning outcomes for Australian children, increase workforce participation for women, and have long-term productivity gains by contributing to a more skilled workforce.”

The letter specifically appeals to Morrison to make “the lives of Australian women easier, not harder”.

“The next federal budget should deliver key reforms that support better equality for women, including a commitment to place early learning reform on the agenda of the national cabinet. The time is now. We urge you to move towards a better, more equal future.”

The letter also requests the addition of a women’s impact statement, which explains how key decisions will impact women’s professional and personal lives.

“We ask that this statement, and the greater transparency it gives on the gendered impacts of the budget, be immediately returned.”

This article was first published by Women’s Agenda.

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