Thursday, 5 March 2020
International Women's Day
My question is to the Minister for the Environment representing the Minister for Women. Noting that this Sunday is International Women's Day, will the minister update the House on the Morrison government's commitment to gender equality?
Opposition members interjecting—
Jeers opposite—that's exactly what I'd expect. But I thank the member for Robertson and congratulate her on her leadership in women's policy. Sunday is International Women's Day, with the theme that an equal world is an enabled world. Enabling opportunities for women in our work and in our society is about growing our economy and managing our economy, and female participation in the workforce is critical. The January 2020 labour force figures show that women's employment is at record highs, with over 6.1 million women employed. The women's workforce participation rate rose sharply that month, to a new record high of 61.5 per cent. Under the Morrison government, full-time employment has increased strongly over the last year, as we know, by 143,880 jobs, with women attaining more than eight out of 10 of those jobs. At the heart of the government's women's policy is economic policy. We've changed the superannuation rules, including concessional catch-up contributions, to boost superannuation for women so women can take time away for their family responsibilities, because financial independence while working has to extend into any retirement.
As which approach International Women's Day, we know there's more work to do, but we should be proud of what we have achieved. The percentage of women on ASX 200 boards is at 30.7 per cent and increasing. Women are in close to 50 per cent of all Australian government board positions, and the gender pay gap is at record lows. Couple that with our reforms to paid parental leave and our reforms to child care. I do ask that on International Women's Day this Sunday we see what we can all do as individuals to encourage women into the workforce, to create working environments that help women and, indeed, men juggle the challenges of family life while advancing their careers.
Sport has been a great barometer in life, and there's something fitting about the fact that International Women's Day sees Australia host the women's T20 series for the first time. There are women role models coming out onto the field, inspiring us all with their athleticism, their heart and their determination. Over the last couple of weeks, we've followed the results closely and cheered the efforts of our team under Meg Lanning. While I've been close to the scourge of drought, it seems strange to say I do hope the Sydney weather clears enough tonight to allow our T20 women the 10 overs of play they will need to defeat South Africa at the SCG. I think everyone in the House would join me in saying we hope to see Australia lift the trophy at the MCG on International Women's Day on Sunday.