The fight for gender equity in Australia will suffer a blow from the government’s budget, Labor’s Tanya Plibersek has told a meeting of party women.
A national meeting of Labor women has been told the government is making gender equality a tougher battle in Australia.
Deputy opposition leader Tanya Plibersek told the convention on Saturday that a range of budget measures announced in May will work against women and used as an example the story of a single mum living in her Sydney electorate.
A public housing resident with two sons, the woman worked hard to graduate from university and find a job.
“Imagine how this budget would affect her life,” Ms Plibersek said, outlining cuts to public housing, university funding, and changes to family tax benefits and the Schoolkids Bonus.
Proposals by the coalition would turn this woman’s uphill battle into a brick wall, she said.
Cuts to foreign aid spending would also take a toll.
“Our aid program helps unlock the capacity of women just like us – who have ingenuity, pride and determination but who have been born into difficult circumstances,” Ms Plibersek told the Canberra audience.
At a domestic level there is gender pay gap in Australia of more than 17 per cent and only one woman sits at the federal cabinet table.
And the country has slipped to 44th out of the world’s top 50 nations when it comes to political representation by women at state and federal level politics.
Ms Plibersek said it’s internationally recognised that addressing inequality and lifting women’s participation in the economy is crucial to building strong and sustainable economic growth.
She questioned whether the government would add gender equity to the discussion agenda when Australia hosts the Group of 20 leading economies summit in Brisbane in November.