Posts tagged employment
Invisible women? Migrant workers need feminist solidarity

Domestic workers are one of the world's most invisible work forces. Their labour is performed beyond the reach of regulators, in private households, including those with significant power and influence— diplomatic and consular officials. Recent research by The Salvation Army found that domestic servitude is occurring in Australia at higher rates than official figures suggest and disproportionately affects women. In today’s post, Heather Moore (@alittlewave) of Monash University (@TSResearchGroup @MigrationMonash) shares findings of her research: Service or Servitude? A Study of Trafficking for Domestic Servitude in Australia. Her findings indicate there is a largely unrecognised feminised workforce that many Australians utilise. Too often migrant domestic workers do not enjoy equal access to protection under the law as other Australian workers do, and are are largely excluded from the mainstream policy discourse on women and rights at work.

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From “mothers having babies” to “people raising families”: Policy and cultural change at Baker McKenzie for inclusive parenting leave

There are many reasons to support fathers taking leave at the birth of a child, including indications that taking time off to be with a newborn results in increased parental engagement across childhood – an area that continues to have a strong gender imbalance in Australia – and supporting a host of other positive outcomes, including maternal wellbeing and narrowing the gender pay gap.

Yet few fathers are encouraged to or, in many cases, are unable to take parental leave at the time of birth, and often unsupportive policy creates the first barrier. In today’s analysis, Kirsty White of law firm Baker McKenzie’s Diversity and Inclusion team shares how the organisation has made history by being the first law firm in Australia to provide gender-equal parental leave, and describes some of the challenges and benefits.

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Automating Inequality – the Australian way

In recent weeks, Dr Simone Casey (@simonecasey) has examined issues in Australia's employment services system in a series of posts covering the ParentsNext program; mutual obligation; and 'work first' activation of jobseekers. This week, she tackles the growing influence of algorithms and increasing automation in Australia's welfare system, drawing on Virginia Eubanks' book Automating Inequality. Dr Casey is an Associate of the RMIT Future Social Services Institute.

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Do the Hustle: How I make ends meet as a single parent

The Coalition’s stance on income support is “the best form of welfare is a job.” For many people on The Newstart Allowance, however, one job doesn’t cut it. In today’s analysis, the insightful Juanita McLaren (@defrostedlady) takes us through her tax return to demonstrate how Welfare to Work policies incentivise decisions around employment, education, income support and debt for single mothers.

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Thanks for asking… Mothers say ParentsNext puts parents last

With the outcome of the recent federal election, the Coalition’s ‘pre-employment’ program known as ParentsNext looks set to continue indefinitely. While a recent Senate Inquiry found the program to be deeply flawed and often harmful to participants, the program is not without its defenders. In today’s piece, Ella Buckland (@EllaNBuckland), who has become a strong advocate for women who are enrolled and is leading a petition to have the program made voluntary, writes about her own experiences and those of other mothers who are on the program in an effort to set the record straight on the program’s merits.

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Does tree-shaking work? Evidence based policy and welfare conditionality

This article from Dr Simone Casey explores why Australia’s Mutual Obligation requirements are so demanding and whether this is based on evidence about what works. It asks why critical research evidence has not received more attention from Australia ‘s activation policy makers. She argues that lack of engagement with critical social research is a limitation which hampers social justice efforts and reflects disregard for social suffering, and says there is plenty of room for stronger engagement with participatory policy design approaches. Dr Casey is an Associate of the RMIT Future Social Services Institute.

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Caring comes at a cost. How about supporting systems that allow carers to work?

The Coalition government has had a long-term focus on moving women into paid employment through increasing Welfare to Work requirements and keeping the Newstart Allowance artificially low. However, many women are unable to participate in employment due to caring duties. For some women this career break is a temporary one as children age and become less dependent, but others are looking after family members or others who have a disability or a chronic condition. In today’s piece, Melanie Zeppel (@MelanieZeppel) of GenIMPACT at Macquarie University shares findings from co-authored research on the economic analysis of the cost of caring, which overwhelmingly impacts on women.

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Putting people with disability at the heart of the government agenda

Improving the policy response for people with disabilities is a critical need for women, who make up the majority of people with disabilities in Australia while also facing reduced access to services, greater rates of poverty and increased experiences of violence. In today’s federal election piece, we share an analysis of the party platforms for Liberal Party, the ALP and the Greens which was conducted by People with Disability Australia (@PWDAustralia). You can access their analysis on their website here, as well as more detailed statements on social security, employment, the NDIS and preventing violence.

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Protecting Young Women from Workplace Sexual Harassment

The National Inquiry into Workplace Sexual Harassment has provided a much-needed opportunity to discuss the prevalence and impacts of sexual harassment in the workplace. The Equality Rights Alliance (ERA) and Harmony Alliance: Migrant and Refugee Women for Change Young Women’s Advisory Groups (YWAGs) contributed to this national conversation through a joint submission. In today’s analysis, Lavanya Kala (@lav_k) of Harmony YWAG (and Hannah Gissane (@HannahGissane) of ERA explain why it’s critical to centre the experiences of young women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds when formulating effective responses to workplace sexual harassment.

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Fathers face a flexibility stigma: Time for policy and cultural change to support fathers using flexibility

The government has a strong focus on supporting women back into paid employment following the arrival of children. However, current initiatives don’t go far enough to remove barriers for many mothers to engage in career-oriented employment. In today’s analysis, Ashlee Borgkvist (@ashb_6) of the University of Adelaide (@UniofAdelaide) examines the barriers men face in accessing paid parental leave and explains how increasing uptake will result in better outcomes for mothers, fathers and children.

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The same old story: How Newstart fails single mothers at every turn

Popular policy analyst Juanita McLaren (@DefrostedLady) shares her latest roundabout journey back to applying for the notoriously low Newstart Allowance and the attendant headaches that has involved. Juanita’s story is a case study of the myriad ways that the government’s policies fail to appreciate the complexities of everyday life and the difficulty of balancing viable employment with raising children as a sole parent.

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Increasing women’s workforce participation: An analysis of the Women’s Economic Security Statement

This week the Minister for Women Kelly O’Dwyer introduced the inaugural Women’s Economic Security Statement, saying “When women do well, their families do well, and our economy and nation prospers.” Arguments that link gender equality with family wellbeing and the national interest are gaining traction, but how well does the Statement and the supporting package of $109 million over four years actually support women’s economic participation and wellbeing? Sarah Squire (@SquireSarah) of Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand (@GoodAdvocacy) unpack the details behind Pillar One – Workforce Participation.  

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Snakes and ladders: The experience of single mothers on Welfare to Work

Single mother households are the most disadvantaged household type in Australia. The Welfare to Work policy is intended to help single mothers engage with employment, increase their self-reliance and improve their financial security. Today’s post summarises a new report by Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand that is being launched at the ACOSS National Conference. Authored by Juanita McLaren (@defrostedlady), Susan Maury (@SusanMaury) and Sarah Squire (@SquireSarah), it is titled “Outside systems control my life”: The experiences of single mothers on Welfare to Work, and draws on in-depth interviews.

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Citizens’ jury endorses public sector gender quotas

As the Liberal Party in Canberra debates whether to opt for targets or quotas to boost the number of seats held by women, and the Labor Party proposed public disclosure of gender pay gaps in workplaces over 1000 people, in Victoria last weekend a Citizens’ Jury quietly endorsed gender quotas for senior roles in the public service. The full juror’s report is available in this article.

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Women and unpaid care

Women provide the lion’s share of unpaid work. In Australia, it is estimated that women spend an average of 64% of their ‘work’ time in an unpaid capacity, while for men the average is much lower, at 36%. In today’s analysis, Amy Webster of Women’s Health Victoria (@WHVictoria) provides a summary of how unpaid care negatively impacts on women, and how multiple identities, including single parent status, having a disability, and women from CALD backgrounds, add complexity to care work. This analysis is a summary of the recently-released Spotlight on Women and unpaid care

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What counts as work and income for parents in the new economy? An opportunity lost in the roll out of the new Child Care Package

Today the government’s new Child Care Package is being rolled out. While it may be a positive for middle-class families who earn their incomes in a ‘traditional’ manner, the implications for families in more precarious employment is not so clear. In today’s post, Kay Cook (@KayCookPhD) of Swinburne University walks us through the new package and what it means for workers who are increasingly reliant on precious employment.

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Budget 2018/19 - Women in the workforce increasingly isolated & exploited

Earlier this week the National Foundation for Australian Women (@NFAWomen) released their annual Gender Lens on the Budget document. This comprehensive and highly collaborate effort includes analyses of how the Federal budget falls for women, identifying the winners and losers for a range of policy positions including social services, education and training, employment, health, and elimination of violence against women. It also provides an overview of how the Budget will shape the lives of women, including young women, older women, Indigenous women, migrant and refugee women, and women with disabilities. Today's post reproduces the analysis authored by Kathy MacDermott, member of the NFAW Social Policy Committee, on budgetary impacts of women's workforce participation. Her analysis indicates that women are increasingly susceptible to precarious employment while government protections and resources are eroded, leaving them more vulnerable to exploitation. On the plus side, funding continues for the Workplace Gender Equality Agency and the Fair Work Ombudsman. The Federal Budget papers can be accessed here.

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Rewarding competence – not confidence – offers a step toward equality

Women’s lack of progression in the workplace and the gender pay gap is often blamed on women; women are told that behaving more confidently will result in workplace rewards. Today’s blog by Leonora Risse (@leonora_risse) of RMIT University reports on an Australian study that challenges this advice, and suggests that organisations would be better off valuing the characteristics that women bring, rather than expecting them to become more like men. This policy analysis piece was originally presented at the inaugural Australian Gender Economics Workshop, held in Fremantle, Western Australia, on 8 and 9 February, 2018.

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