CPA Australia provides the context of the financial impact of COVID-19 on women.
Financy: Gender and budget summary: Economist Bianca Hartge-Hazelman advises the government lacks a real plan with many of the measures announced aimed more at fixing women or women’s behaviours around work, rather than challenging systemic gender issues.
Women on Boards Claire Braund, Executive Director of Women on Boards, said it was good to see the Government has listened to women and responded with a tailored package to address specific issues such as domestic violence, economic security and health. However, she cautioned that this was simply a start and a very small proportion of the overall budget which also needed to be scrutinised for its gender-based impact.
Women's Agenda publisher, Tarla Lambert, advises that what was supposed to be the Federal Budget that would change the game for women in Australia was only a tweaked and tinkered version; they ultimately missed a crucial chance to go big and send a powerful message to voters. She concedes the government did spend big in some areas, including manufacturing, aged care and mental health services.
The Australia Institute: research economist Eliza Littleton is concerned that the woefully insufficient and temporary spending demonstrate that the Government is still treating issues affecting women as a political problem, rather than a systemic policy problem.
Centre for Future Work’s Briefing Paper: Budget Analysis 2021-22: Heroic Assumptions and Half Measures reports the budget’s spending on women consists of relatively small amounts of money divided across many different, often symbolic priorities. This modest new spending for women contrasts with permanent and much more expensive measures that will reinforce or widen gender inequality in Australia. Women’s concentration in part-time, insecure jobs explains why the gender pay gap (measured across all jobs) is 31%. And the continuing growth of insecure work could make that worse. In sum, this budget offers no real change to the policy settings that block women’s ability to fully work and earn.
They conclude the budget will not make an appreciable difference to women’s economic security or address widening inequality.