Three recent studies from academic sources have highlighted the problems women face in returning to work post-pandemic. In terms of unemployment, the rate for women is 7.6% and for men 5.9%.
Dan Andrews has promised to support more jobs for women in this month’s budget and Tim Pallas, Victorian treasurer, has followed the recommendation of Danielle Wood, Gratton Institute CEO, who recommended a tutor program which would hire large numbers of women. The tutor program will employ short-term school tutors, a $250 million policy to support schools in the coming months. Most of those tutors are expected to be women. The role of these tutors would be to help children disadvantaged by the pandemic, who will need support to cover lost months of education. Qualified retired teachers would be part of this initiative.
Janine Dixon, Victoria University economist, has pointed to new figures which indicate that women are slowly catching up to their male counterparts and that the problem with the employment gap between genders is more to do with a labour/supply rather than a demand problem.
Dr. Dixon has also presented a recently published study which indicated that 900,000 Australians, two-thirds of them women, have been prevented from returning to the workforce due to responsibilities in caring for children and other dependent relatives. This is costing the government $30 billion annually in untapped economic activities. This must lead into more discussions around child-care.
RMIT economics professor Leonora Risse has written that an important ingredient in encouraging women back into the workforce would be new education and training initiatives to attract women into new areas of employment, post Covid-19. A large number of jobs in hospitality and retail may not return after the pandemic, and it will be important to look at other areas of employment which will require new skills and education.
Ref: Noel Towell; Sean Goodwin; The Age 2020
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