How far we have come – International Women's Day 2019

How far we have come – International Women's Day 2019

Office for Women International Forums International Women’s Day
Friday, 08 March 2019

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Image is a purple tile with the words ‘International Women’s Day, #IWD2019 & #MorePowerfulTogether

This year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) theme #MorePowerfulTogether recognises the important role we all play in advancing gender equality. As IWD 2019 draws to a close, it is timely to reflect on how far we have come and how far we still have to go to truly achieve gender equality.

In Australia, women have continued to see improvements in many aspects of their lives:

  • The gender pay gap is at a record low of 14.2%.
  • Women’s workforce participation is at a record high of 60.7%.
  • A record high of almost 6 million women are now employed, and more women are in full-time work than ever before.
  • The percentage of women on Australian Government boards increased to 45.8%, the highest overall result since public reporting began.
  • More women are being honoured than ever before with a record number of women receiving an Order of Australia honour in 2019.
  • More Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are enrolling in higher education than ever before, with enrolments doubling over the last 10 years.

Australian Government initiatives are helping in this progress—we are working together with our stakeholders to keep women and children safe from domestic and family violence and give women greater choices about their lives so they can build financial security for themselves and their families.

This week, funding of $328 million was announced to boost prevention and frontline services to support the Fourth Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022.

The measures outlined include funding for the following:

  • $82 million for frontline services.
  • $68 million for prevention strategies.
  • $35 million in support and prevention measures for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities funded under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy.
  • $78 million to provide safe places for people impacted by domestic and family violence.
  • $64 million for 1800RESPECT to support the service.

In addition, the Women’s Economic Security Statement, announced in 2018, provided more than $100 million dedicated to practical measures to help give women greater life choices, build financial security and grow the Australian economy. Significantly, parents will be able to access Government-funded Parental Leave Pay more flexibly so that their parental leave works for their circumstances.

Other Australian Government initiatives announced over the last 12 months include:

  • A guaranteed minimum entitlement of five days unpaid family and domestic violence leave for all Australians covered by the Fair Work Act.
  • $500,000 to the Inquiry into Workplace Sexual Harassment, which will build on the outcomes of the expanded 2018 AHRC sexual harassment survey.
  • A civil penalty regime to combat the non-consensual sharing of intimate images. Amendments to legislation also created two aggravated offences which will apply to the most serious instances of sharing of intimate images.
  • More support for families through the Child Care Subsidy.
  • A targeted investment of $20.9 million over five years to improve the health of new families, particularly pregnant women and children.
  • An extra $27 million to build on the $20.5 million already invested in the McGrath Breast Care Nurse Initiative, to ensure training of 98 breast care nurses by 2022–23.
  • A $4.5 million package included in the 2018-19 Budget encourages more girls and women to study and undertake STEM careers.
  • Measures such as the Protecting Your Super package which will help to protect the low and inactive superannuation accounts of over 1 million women.

Find out more information on initiatives in support of Australian women on the Office for Women pages on the PM&C website.