25/11/2021 - 15:47

Forrest launches gender equality campaign

25/11/2021 - 15:47

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Julie Bishop and Lucy Turnbull are among prominent female leaders working with Nicola Forrest to spark change on gender equality issues ahead of the federal election.

Forrest launches gender equality campaign
Nicola Forrest convened the group. Photo: Matt Jelonek

Julie Bishop and Lucy Turnbull are among prominent female leaders working with Nicola Forrest to spark change on gender equality issues ahead of the federal election. 

The three are part of a diverse 22-strong group called Women for Progress, led by Mrs Forrest

In its launch advertisement, which appeared in newspapers this morning, the group said Australia’s recovery from the pandemic would depend on the extent to which women can fully participate in the rebuild.

The group is campaigning for changes to the childhood education system, additional women’s safety measures, financial equality and improvement in the number of women in leadership roles.

It is lobbying for a federal government commitment to an evidence-based early learning system which is accessible and high-quality, and government funded parental leave at minimum wage for 26 weeks, shared between partners.

The group wants the number of parental leave weeks to be increased to 52 by 2030.

Regarding women’s safety, it is demanding the National Employment Standards include at least 10 days per year of paid family and domestic violence leave; investments in preventative and crisis housing for older women and people experiencing domestic violence; and for the government to implement all 55 recommendations from the Respect@Work report.

The leaders are asking for several changes to the Fair Work Act consisting of including gender equality as an express object, removing the need for a ‘male comparator’ and establishing a new Fair Work Commission gender equality panel.

The group also wants income supports which disproportionately impact women, single parents and children to lift women and children out of poverty.

It is requesting changes to the Workplace Gender Equality Act to require more public reporting by organisations with more than 20 employees on all indicators including the gender pay gap, cultural background and progress towards women in leadership targets.

It wants a commitment to targets and public reporting on women in leadership in politics and the public service and funding for all seven recommendations in the Wiyi Yani U Thangani Report.

Minderoo Foundation co-chair Nicola Forrest released a video to launch the group today.

Mrs Forrest said she was concerned that gender equality remained out of reach for many women and progress on women’s issues had flatlined in Australia.  

“I believe Australia is at an important juncture,” Mrs Forrest said in the video.

“Now is the time to ensure that we set our nation up to thrive, particularly post the COVID pandemic.

“I am resolute in my belief that this can be achieved through enabling women to fully participate in the workforce, while also ensuring we support the next generation of engaged learners, our young children, who will be the creators of our future society, economy and planet.”

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