Australian union urges government to act on gender inequality in workplace

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has called on the government to do more to address the gender gap for women in the workforce.
By: | September 22, 2021

ACTU president Michele O’Neil made the call after Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data showed that women workers continued to be disproportionately affected by the pandemic’s impact on the economy, compared to men. 

She said that between May and August this year, 90,000 women lost their jobs, compared to 25,000 men, while in New South Wales alone, nearly two-thirds of all jobs lost since the lockdown began in June, had been held by women. 

Furthermore, women were more likely to drop out of the labour force altogether – meaning they would not be included in employment statistics – with 4.1% of women in NSW no longer looking for work, compared to 2.8% of men. 

The latest figures continue the trend shown in the 2020 ABS gender indicators report, which found women aged 20-74 were almost three times as likely as men to be working part-time. 

In addition, O’Neil said women still in the workforce had also been let down, with the government “missing the opportunity” to implement more legislations to protect them based on recommendations from the sex discrimination commissioner, Kate Jenkins’ Respect@Work report. 

READ: Australia expects teleworking to continue post-pandemic

She said, “Action is urgently needed from the Morrison government to address insecure work – which disproportionately affects women – as well as sexual harassment and violence in the workplace,” according to The Guardian.