Women have spoken: new government urged to prioritise structural reform – Joint media statement

Publish Date
26/5/22

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Media Release

Monday, May 23 2022

Women have spoken: new government urged to prioritise structural reform

National Women’s Alliances have congratulated the incoming ALP Government and all new members of the 47th federal parliament, while stressing the urgency of tackling structural change to advance the lives of women and girls across the country regardless of their background, ability or income.

The Equality Rights Alliance (ERA), Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA), Harmony Alliance and National Women’s Safety Alliance (NWSA) represent hundreds of organisations in providing policy advice to the government.

Together, the four alliances have acknowledged the election as a historic moment to move on preventive and inclusive reforms for women neglected the past decade.

“Women have spoken. They are in the driver’s seat, demanding action on integrity, serious climate policy and structural reform to genuinely transform our communities for the better,” said Equality Rights Alliance convenor, Helen Dalley-Fisher.

“Poverty is gendered in Australia. Women tend to have lower incomes than men and more unpaid responsibilities and retire with much less money. The wage gap remains stubbornly high. Poverty leads to precariousness. It makes living with a disability harder and makes the prospect of fleeing violence near impossible,” said Ms Dalley-Fisher.

“If we want to help women we must recognise and change systems that keep women from feeling safe, having access and opportunity and getting ahead,” said Frances Quan Farrant, Acting Director of Policy and Programs, Women With Disabilities Australia.

“That change needs to start in Parliament itself, with a shift away from the current combative and sexist culture,” added Ms Dalley-Fisher.

The National Women’s Alliances will work collaboratively with government to ensure it achieves the promises made in the campaign:

  • NDIS reform
  • Cheaper childcare, more widely available
  • Reducing the gender pay gap, including improving wages in feminised sectors
  • Making women safer
  • Providing more accessible and affordable housing
  • Gender responsive budgeting

WWDA’s Frances Quan Farrant said, “We look forward to seeing the NDIS develop a gender strategy with us and to progress the national plan for women, including disabled women and the Australian Disability Strategy, so that both documents for action are aligned and cohesive.”

NSWA CEO Renee Hamilton said, “To end gender-based violence we want action on our top five priorities developed with those working on the frontline, those with lived experience of violence and experts. The actions include more housing, funding for frontline services, consent education programs, legal support for victim-survivors, and a national training target for people in the community to identify violence and respond compassionately.”

“Gender-based violence is preventable. We know what drives it – gender inequality. We must work together to end gender-based violence in one generation,” Dr Hamilton said.

Spokesperson and chair of the Harmony Alliance, Nyadol Nyuon, said, “We welcome the opportunity to work with the new government to ensure migrant and refugee women are meaningfully included across policy development to bring about positive change and improve their participation and outcomes.”

The Equality Rights Alliance, auspiced by YWCA Australia, has separately called on the incoming Albanese government to urgently convene a housing summit as a priority to achieve good outcomes, especially for women, and in light of the threat of climate change.

“Single women over 55 are the fastest group experiencing homelessness. Key stakeholders must be brought together for an urgent housing summit that acknowledges and deals with the complexity of the housing crisis and climate events”, said ERA’s Ms Helen Dalley-Fisher.

“Innovative and universal design must be part of new social housing promised by Labor,” she added.

The alliances are four of six National Women’s Alliances, funded by the Commonwealth Government’s Office for Women.

For more information and interviews, please contact Toni Hassan at ERA – 0435 919 077

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