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3 Theme One - Economic Independence for Women: Listening Tour Report

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Listening Tour Report A report of the Listening Tour consultations in
2007-08

 

3 Theme One - Economic Independence for Women


3.1 What is this chapter about?

I'm a mother who has been out of the paid workforce for two years and will probably
be for the next 4 years, until my children are ready for pre-school. My return to work
will probably be on a part-time basis and I will probably have to re-start my career
after so many years out so I don't expect that I will earn very much. I never thought
this would be the case - I studied for many years, earned a higher degree, worked
overseas and then started my family...I can't see how, after this time out of the
workforce, my earnings will ever come close to my partner's. I dread to think of how I
will ever manage if I have to rely upon my meagre superannuation contributions in
retirement. 4

Achieving economic independence for women has been at the core of the vision for
gender equality across the globe. Economic independence is about expanding the capacity
of women to make genuine choices about their lives through full and equal participation
in all spheres of life. It is about recognising women's work, paid and unpaid, as
valuable, both socially and economically. It is about having policies and systems that
value and celebrate women's contributions, and reflect the reality of women's
lives.

Currently, women working full-time earn 16 per cent less than men who are working
full-time. 5 The gender pay gap is even greater when women's
part-time and casual earnings are considered, with women earning two thirds what men
earn overall. 6 The reasons for this pay gap are complex. Women
are more likely to be working under minimum employment conditions and be engaged in low
paid, casual and part time work. 7 Australian women are
particularly over-represented in industries with high levels of casual work such as
retail, hospitality and personal services. 8

The gender pay gap has a number of critical flow-on effects. Pay inequity is often
cited as a major factor determining how paid work and family responsibilities are
shared. Women, having earned less than men and carried the lion's share of unpaid work,
have significantly less retirement savings compared to men. Current superannuation
payouts for women are one third of those for men. 9 Almost 50 per
cent of women aged 45 to 59 have $8000 or less in superannuation savings.
10

By focusing on economic independence for women, the Commissioner sought to
understand how contemporary Australian women are faring in various aspects of their
financial lives. Do women feel financially secure? Does this change over the lifecycle?
How do these experiences vary amongst different groups of women? Most importantly, what
can be done to ensure financial security for women?

This chapter contains a summary of the key issues raised during Listening Tour under
the theme of Economic Independence for Women.

The chapter is structured as follows:

What we heard: This section is a summary of the key points made
under each sub-issue, illuminated by personal stories and opinions.

Research and literature: This section summarises research that is
relevant to each sub-issue. It should be noted the research included in the report is
not an exhaustive literature review, but a summary of the research that was presented
to the Commissioner during the Listening Tour.

Policy and project ideas: Listening Tour participants provided
their ideas to the Commissioner on what could be done to address the various issues
under this theme. Some suggestions are for the Commissioner and HREOC to consider and
others are for government or other relevant bodies, but which HREOC could potentially
support.

3.2 Gender pay gap

3.2.1 What we heard

Participants in the Listening Tour largely recognised closing the gender pay gap as
central to achieving economic independence for women. A number of points were raised
under this issue, including: the overrepresentation of women in low paid industries;
the experiences of women working in male dominated industries; women's experiences of
individual negotiations of pay; and the impact of pay inequity on personal
decisions.

Work that is characterised as 'women's work' is undervalued

A key problem underpinning the theme of economic independence for women is the lack
of value ascribed to the work that women do. Although Listening Tour participants cited
examples of more women entering non traditional fields, many participants pointed to
the fact that what is seen as 'women's work' remains undervalued both in monetary terms
and social status.

One participant in the Canberra Community Consultation said:

I work in vocational education. Here the TAFE system in the ACT and in Australia is
gendered. Women choose to do courses that mostly women study - aged
care, beauty, community care, hairdressing, mental health work etc. Most of these are
lowly paid too. We need more effort to get women into the non-traditional areas. 11

A woman working in the child care sector drew attention to the complex set of skills
required in her work and the social benefit of high quality care for children. She
pointed out that the pay and status of workers in this sector fails to acknowledge the
skills required or the benefits returned:

The amount of pay is incredibly low and the work is undervalued. Caring for children
should be valued in our society but we are invisible. 12

Women in the female dominated aged care sector also told us that there was little
prospect of any pay progression, however long they worked or gained experience. 13

Some participants said that in female dominated industries, men had a greater chance
of promotion, further contributing to pay inequity within those industries.
14 One participant used the nursing sector as an example, pointing out
that while men and women are paid the same, men "track up the ladder quicker into
management which pays more". 15

One woman sought to explain why women are over-represented in low paid
industries:

Women are clustered in lower-paid jobs due to educational choices, perceptions of
'women's work', and women's family and caring responsibilities. The average weekly
earnings of men and women will not be the same unless men and women share family
responsibilities equally; and this will be a long time coming.
16

A woman working in a male dominated industry remarked upon the social attitudes that
underpin pay inequity, pointing out the stereotype that women "can't earn more money
than a bloke" and also that women tend to undervalue themselves, thinking "I can't do
as much as a bloke so I shouldn't earn as much." 17

As a solution to closing the gender pay gap one participant at the Adelaide
community consultation said that "part of it is changing the idea of what sort of work
boys do and what sort of work girls do". 18

There are still significant barriers to women working in male dominated
industries

Both women and men working in male dominated industries recognised the barriers
facing women working in these industries, based on assumptions about what is 'women's
work' and what is 'men's work'.

One woman spoke of her experience working in a male dominated industry:

I think there is a big difference in the [mining] industry in terms of jobs for
women and jobs for men. You don't see any women working in hydrators or operations. Men
still have the mindset that this is really a job for men. They will say, "You don't
want to do this". I applied for a job in plant services and they just took me out of
the running because they thought you don't really want to do that.
19

Another woman noted the physical features of her workplace as gendered, pointing out
that there is a "huge" amenities block for the men and a "tiny cubicle" for the women. 20

A man working in a male dominated industry described how certain expectations made
his a "male" workplace, including the view that "boys do it better" and "that you've
got to be 6 foot 2, and size 14 shoes" to do the job. 21

A male participant working in the banking and financial sector argued that it is
women's lesser commitment to the job that explains the under-representation of women in
senior positions:

What proportion of women would find banking and finance something they want to do
over a lifetime? The girls, they learn the skills from the business they're in, and
then they go away and travel. How many are committed enough to be doing the books
unless they're in a really good role that is interesting? The industry we are in can be
pretty boring. From a male perspective is there a greater incentive to continue to earn
and progress in the career train versus different drivers for women.
22

In response to a question about whether the structure of work presents a barrier to
women's participation one male participant argued that it did not:

[I]t's an industry thing, perhaps because [financial work] interests males more than
females...I don't think you can get away from women being more interested in nurturing
etcetera and men more interested in figures...The girls are good on
the front line, that's where we make our money. They have strengths that males just
don't have. 23

Women are not faring well with individual negotiations for pay and
conditions

The gendered difference in negotiation of pay and conditions was raised as a
contributing factor towards pay inequity. Participants commented on women's tendency to
undervalue themselves and trade off pay for family friendly conditions, as well as the
undervaluing of women employees by their employers. 24

One woman commented on the different negotiation styles of men and women:

Women are conditioned to put themselves as the last option, always putting
themselves last. It is a huge issue to assert yourself around money. Men communicate
with arrogance, but women are emotive and it doesn't work in the negotiating room. We
do undervalue ourselves. But if you do negotiate well you are up against someone who
doesn't value you, usually a man and so you still lose out. Women use evidence to build
a case but men just go in with themselves. 25

Employers also recognised this matter as an issue for closing the gender pay gap,
although some note that it is changing for younger women:

Men are [more] likely than women to come out and say I want more money. Women are
more likely to hope they get praise or a pay rise. Unless they talk to each other and
realize that it isn't fair and others are getting more it doesn't get fixed. Younger
women are better at it. 26

Some people pointed to the introduction of WorkChoices and Australian Workplace
Agreements as a factor in increasing the gender pay gap. One participant commented that
the abolition of the "no disadvantage" test "has meant that women's wages have gone
backwards." 27

A women's service provider commented that women generally fare better under
collectively bargained agreements:

Women generally aren't as outspoken and assertive as men in negotiating their pay
and conditions. If you look at AWAs the pay gap is bigger [than in certified
agreements]. If you are a woman ... struggling to get back into work,
you are unlikely to be asking for paid maternity leave or time off for school holidays. 28

One woman noted that for women from culturally and linguistically diverse
backgrounds, the individual negotiation process could be more difficult:

It is possibly worse for migrant and refugee women. Culturally, we don't feel we can
negotiate for pay. It's very rare. 29

A participant in a focus group said that when women are more assertive or
"masculine" in a negotiation they are labelled as "hard" or a "lesbian". Despite this,
she said that she "goes in hard" when negotiating and "tells [the employer] what
[she's] worth". 30

Pay inequity is influencing choices about paid and unpaid work within
families

Many women and men said that decisions about sharing paid work and family
responsibilities are borne out of financial necessity; they are largely determined by
who has the greater earnings or earning potential in the relationship.

One man recounted his own experience:

Doing the sums of child care can make it more economical for my wife to stay at home
because she earns less than I do. 31

One service provider noted that closing the gender pay gap is critical for creating
an environment where men can undertake greater caring responsibilities:

More and more blokes want to care for their children, but financially they are not
making that decision because men are earning more. They are the breadwinners. If you do
equalise women and men's pay it will create opportunities for men to do that. 32

3.2.2 Research and literature

The following research projects were brought to the attention of the Commissioner
during the Listening Tour.

Institutional effects on pay equity and pay inequity in emerging
industries

Meg Smith at the University of Western Sydney is currently undertaking research in
the area of gender pay equity and institutional explanations for the undervaluation of
feminised work. Her research sets out to highlight the influence of industrial
relations institutions in the shaping of pay inequity. Her more recent collaborative
research projects have focused on the production of pay inequity in newly emerging
industries and occupations, as well as the development of a methodology for better
recognition of the skills in service work. 33

3.2.3 The gender pay gap in Western Australia

This independent review of the gender pay gap in Western Australia (WA) was
commissioned by the WA Minister of Employment and Consumer Protection.
34 The report covers recent research dealing with the gender pay gap,
the capacity of the State Wage Fixing Principles to close the gap, the efficacy of
voluntary strategies, the role of the Minimum Conditions of Employment Act 1993 (WA), and strategies for training. The report points to WA as having the largest
gender pay gap of any state or territory in Australia. This gap has economic, social
and political consequences for individuals, business and governments. The report
identifies a number of causal factors contributing to the gap including: the nature of
jobs and the type of employment in which women are concentrated and the lower level of
earnings associated with these jobs; the value attached to jobs and skills associated
with female labour; entrenched social norms that impact on wage determination; barriers
to women juggling paid work and caring responsibilities, and the deregulation and
decentralisation of wage determination.

3.2.4 Policy and project ideas

The following policy and project ideas were suggested by participants in the
Listening Tour.

  1. Consideration should be given to a differential tax rate for women and men in
    recognition of the gender pay gap and women's role in caring for children.
    35
  2. Skills in salary negotiation should be taught at university.
    36
  3. There should be an inquiry into work value examining why is it that the care
    industries are viewed as 'unskilled' and considering the value of part time and
    flexible work. 37
  4. Pay equity clauses should be included in work agreements.
    38
  5. Increase minimum wages and conditions and make sure they are enforced.
    39
  6. Aim to close the gender pay gap for Average Hourly (Non-managerial) Earnings.
    This will require an overhaul of industrial relations guidelines, perhaps as part of
    the revision of WorkChoices, so that women's work is valued equally.
    40
  7. Service industries should be provided with guidelines, possibly enforceable, for
    how employees should be paid, depending on experience, and on training requirements
    for staff. These industries employ many women, often as casual employees, and may not
    increase the pay of employees as they gain experience nor provide training for
    better-paid positions. 41
  8. Reporting requirements under the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace
    Act 1999
    (Cth) should be expanded from employers of 100 or more employees to
    include employers of 50 or more employees. 42

3.3 Superannuation and retirement
savings

3.3.1 What we heard

The gender gap in retirement savings and superannuation resonated strongly as an
issue with participants in public consultations and focus groups. Many women identified
with our case study, Margaret's story, which described a woman who moved in and out of
paid work due to caring responsibilities, and was required to move out of her house due
to financial pressures later in life. 43 Stories about older
women living in poverty due to minimal retirement savings and the inadequacy of the age
pension were common. Young women commented on their lack of awareness about the
importance of superannuation. Some women reported using the co-contribution scheme,
designed by the federal Government to support low income workers, while others could
not afford to make the contributions that would garner matching government funds. 44

Women are justifiably anxious about living in poverty in later years

Many women identified strongly with Margaret's story, revealing their own anxieties
about their retirement savings and identifying the lack of societal value placed on
unpaid work as an explanation for their vulnerable financial status.

One woman from Hobart shared her story:

I'm in a similar situation to Margaret and I have anxiety too. I was in the paid
workforce which I left five years ago to care for my disabled husband. I'm a nurse and
with nursing comes extreme pressures. It's a double whammy with pressure because of the
type of work and [the] pressure of [the] caring role. [The future of [my] work is an
on-going financial issue for me, like Margaret. I just downgraded to a shack and
without my faith I would not be here. When family is unwell, women
can't work and we have to remember that many may not always wish to work.
45

A 60 year old woman from Canberra also expressed her anxiety:

I am freaking out about retirement. After three months in hospital and enormous
medical bills I had to start again. 46

A union official highlighted the financial pressures that prevent women from
contributing extra payments towards their superannuation:

The first priority for people is to pay back the HECS debt, then to pay for a house.
It's very difficult to get people to contribute to superannuation. Many women who are
eligible for [the government] co-contribution [scheme] cannot afford to co-contribute
so women have actually missed out on this incentive. Many women have an income so far
behind the threshold that they are not getting the breaks.
47

The increasing casualisation of the workforce, and women's overrepresentation in
this kind of work was also noted as a contributing factor to the gender gap in
retirement savings with many women earning below the threshold for the co-contribution
scheme. 48

Women working on farms were seen to be particularly vulnerable to poverty in later
years with all joint assets tied up in the farm, leaving women with no financial
security if they separate from their partners. In regional South Australia one woman
noted:

In relationships there seems to be an unconscious transition towards being totally
dependent on the other party. On the farm, tradition sees farms left to boys in the
family or in a marriage the farm is often not in her name. Everything is in the name of
farm and all money and assets tied up in the farm. If the couple splits, the women
usually end up with nothing. 49

One man argued that the gender gap in women's superannuation gap is to be expected
and should be compensated for by women's financial choices early in life:

[Women w]ill always have an interruption to [their] earning capacity
... but you would have hoped they'd make better use of an earning
period of time before starting a family. 50

Women's past exclusion from superannuation schemes is still impacting on
their retirement savings

One woman reminded us of the history of women's exclusion from superannuation
schemes, which is still impacting on some groups of women:

When I worked years ago men could join the super fund but women couldn't. My husband
said, "Don't worry about super because you'll be leaving [the paid workforce] soon".
Then my marriage fell apart and I was left with no superannuation because all the money
had gone into the house instead. I left after 15 years in the paid workforce with
nothing, no superannuation, a bit of long service leave. I didn't get the same wage as
the males yet I was expected to take on more secretarial work. That is the way the work
was structured. Everyone worries about retirement savings but let's remember we were
not invited to join the super fund until 25 years ago. 51

One participant said that past superannuation rules and indirect discrimination
against women has left many women with no choice but to extend their working lives:

I think so many of the grandmothers are working to a far greater age than they were
before. [In the past, e]very time you got pregnant, you got your superannuation paid
out. There was no compulsory superannuation, so you only got to do it by invitation. 52

Another woman pointed out the effects of multiple hurdles for some women, of past
exclusion from paid work and superannuation combined with health issues:

I'm seventy three, was a teacher, had superannuation, then got married and had to
retire. When I rejoined teaching after 10 years, I could get superannuation. But some
couldn't get it because of health. That was thirty years ago, and so now, they are not
able to live on the money that they have. 53

Women's work as carers is not
socially and economically valued

Participants said that linking superannuation to paid work sends a strong message
that unpaid caring work is not valued by society. 54 There was a
strong view that the system needed to reflect the value of unpaid work to society.

Many women pointed to the lack of social and economic value placed on unpaid
work.

[Margaret's] story resonates very strongly. What are the factors impacting [on
women's poor financial status in retirement]? Public discourse doesn't value women's
work. [There is n]o economic value [put] on homekeeping or mothering. We are told we
don't work because we are not in paid work. Women like Margaret do the best that they
can do -- sending her son to university despite her personal costs. But what are the
costs to society? 55

Some participants raised concerns about the superannuation system being linked to
paid work, thereby disadvantaging unpaid carers:

We need to recognise unpaid carers - what about their
superannuation? The policy of human rights needs to also focus on people who are not in
paid work. We are talking about one in eight Australians. 56

Women are working longer to accumulate adequate retirement
savings

Many women said that they were working longer to support themselves financially in
retirement. This is impacting on the health and wellbeing of older women who find
themselves under pressure to earn an income to pay for housing and other living
expenses.

One woman shared her story of needing to work much longer in an attempt to secure
her financial future:

As a baby boomer approaching retiring age and having spent most of my years raising
children, I have very little hope of retiring and will need to work for as long as
possible. I will not be independent financially. Many women I know are the main income
earner, sometimes this will be off farm income in order to maintain the family farm and
lifestyle due to drought or because they may have a husband with a disability. The
pressure is really on women who have not been high income earners and the outlook for
the future is bleak. I see many tired women who are working fulltime, supporting
husbands and trying to be a helpful grandparent. 57

One contributor to the Listening Tour blog explained the health impact of working
long hours to meet her loan repayments in retirement, highlighting the inadequacy of
the age pension:

Because I was unable to access superannuation funds through my work in earlier years
I had to return to work at the age of 66, because I found it was impossible to maintain
a house on my own and pay service bills etc. on the old age pension. I am now 72
[years] old and still working. I took out a $40,000.00 Home Equity loan (like reverse
mortgage) ... before I was able to re-commence working. This loan is
now charging 9.5% interest (compounding) and if I don't keep on working to pay the
interest the bank will very quickly gobble up my home. I love my work and am dedicated
to it - but long hours are having a deleterious effect on my health and the constant
worry of not being able to meet the greedy interest rate payments is very stressful.
..Paying [a loan] back, out of a pension, is impossible - and women don't realise this
until they have been forced in to the situation of using their only asset to try to
achieve a liveable income. 58

Women are also working longer to help family members with their living expenses and
are unable to save for their own retirement:

I talk to many women who can't retire when they thought they were going to be able to
because of family transmitted debt. They are supporting kids through university and
helping kids with a mortgage. With the cost of housing and university studies, older
women can't save for their own retirement. 59

Employers also noted the rising trend of people staying on to work because they
"haven't got a retirement nest egg built up". 60

However, not all women are able to supplement their retirement income by extending
their time in the paid workforce. One participant highlighted the pressures on women
between 40 and 60, who "have to leave the paid workforce because of caring for parents,
and for grandchildren as well" which limits their retirement savings.
61

There are mixed views about the adequacy of the age pension

There were mixed views about the age pension with many women bringing attention the
inadequacy of the payment while others looked forward to being able to receive it. One
participant in the Brisbane community consultation reported that older women on the
pension are really struggling financially, particularly with the rising cost of living. 62

A representative of the Women's Action Alliance (Victoria) raised her concerns about
the adequacy of the age pension, particularly for single women:

I would like to draw your attention to the financial plight of single age
pensioners, mostly women. On the death of a spouse, the age pension is slashed by 40
[per cent] even though their normal living costs barely change and may in fact
increase. 63

This view was echoed by another service provider at the National Women's
Secretariats in Canberra, who pointed out that "costs are fixed whether you are on a
single or shared pension". 64

A contributor to the Listening Tour blog raised her concern about the tax
disincentive to work while on the pension:

A single, age pensioner who does not own a home and must pay rent, simply cannot
live on the pension. However, if you work, you lose 40 cents (like a tax) on every
dollar you earn above $62 per week. 65

One woman brought attention to an issue of inequity in access to the pension for
Indigenous women:

Given the shortened life expectancy for Aboriginal women, there is an issue around
access to the age pension and superannuation. 66

A representative of the Older Women's Network in NSW suggested that the age pension
could be the first time a woman receives independent income, allowing women in abusive
relationships to leave their partner:

Many older women don't have super or savings. Retirement is a difficult time for
those only on the pension. But the pension is equal between men and women. This allows
those in abusive relationships to leave their partner after retirement as they have
their own funds to live independently because they will be able to have access to money
for the first time in their lives. 67

Some women working in low paid factory work said that they were looking forward to
receiving the pension and wished that it would be available sooner:

It's not fair that women can only retire at 65 to get the pension. When we got
older, we don't have the energy to do the hard work. The work that we do is heavy like
cleaning. 68

Young women need increased education about superannuation

The need to educate young women about financial security and superannuation was
raised a number of times throughout the Listening Tour as a way of redressing the
gender gap in retirement savings. 69

One young woman spoke of her superannuation situation:

I don't even know who my super fund people are.... I know I've got
about eight or nine different funds all around the place. And I got a letter at one
point saying, "you've got money here". I'm like, "who are they?" And I've had letters
saying, you had 500 dollars but because your scheme hasn't been used, we're taking that
in admin fees. 70

In recognition of this issue, Unions ACT ran seminars for young women about
superannuation and about combining jobs and Centrelink payments. They were targeted
mainly to women working in low paid industries. 71

One woman supported broader access to financial advice in a blog entry:

[We need a] network of government-funded financial advisers who could analyse a
woman's situation and advise her on how to organise her affairs in order to maximise
her income in old age. The advisers would preferably be women with good communication
skills (that is, who can put a case in plain English and make sure the client
understands it). They would not recommend specific investments as commercial advisers
on commissions do; rather, they would list the pros and cons of various alternatives.
Such a system would:

  1. inform women of their entitlements to government funding
  2. enable them to maximise the return from funds/investments they control so as to
    obviate the need for government assistance; and
  3. could help protect them from financial scams.
    72

3.3.2 Research and literature

The following research projects were brought to the attention of the Commissioner
during the Listening Tour.

Women's access to superannuation and retirement savings

Diana Olsberg reported on her research of the last twenty years examining women's
access to superannuation and retirement savings. Although her earlier research
influenced the policy of removing explicit discrimination in the superannuation system,
her recent research has demonstrated that there is still a level of implicit
discrimination due to the occupation-linked nature of the system. She is now doing work
on ageing and housing and her research has identified female renters as in the most
financially vulnerably position. 73

Women in Social and Economic Research (WiSER) at the Curtin University of
Technology, Western Australia, have a strong research focus on the gender gap in
retirement savings. 74 In particular, recent research conducted
by Therese Jefferson highlights how Australia's superannuation system poses particular
difficulties for women who have broken patterns of paid employment and relatively low
wages. Economic simulations show that women in the baby boomer cohort will spend around
35 per cent less time in paid employment than their male counterparts. This will
translate into a gender gap in compulsory accumulations of a similarly large magnitude.
In addition, interview based studies reveal that many women are uncertain about how to
save for retirement. For some, the problem is having too little money to participate in
a savings scheme, while for others there is a real concern with 'how to get started.' 75

Financial literacy

This report, by the Victorian Women's Information and Referral Exchange, is based
upon research involving over 300 women through a web based survey, focus groups and
interviews. 76 The study sought to ascertain how Victorian women
self assessed their financial literacy levels, and how these levels can be improved.
The research found that for women, emotion, money and family were interconnected. Women
were found to be generally fearful about money and there is a lack of confidence about
how to access the financial market.

3.3.3 Policy and project ideas

The following policy and project ideas were suggested by participants in the
Listening Tour.

Superannuation

  1. A lump sum superannuation payment should be paid on the birth of a child, paid
    directly into a superannuation so that women will earn compound interest on the
    money. 77 Alternatively, some of the baby bonus could be put
    into a superannuation fund. 78
  2. People who are getting welfare benefits should get an additional payment towards
    superannuation. 79
  3. Educate girls at the school level about the importance of superannuation for
    financial security. 80
  4. Employers could include an extra contribution to superannuation as part of a
    bonus or pay rise, benefiting both the employer and employee because of tax benefits. 81
  5. Adopt a national goal of a achieving a universal basic income with
    superannuation. 82
  6. Rethink the assumptions on which the current superannuation model is based.
    Instead of basing superannuation schemes on a man working full time for 35 years,
    increase the minimum contribution and reflect the casual and broken working patterns
    that are the reality of working lives. 83
  7. Women should be able to contribute money towards superannuation when they are
    outside of the paid workforce undertaking caring responsibilities. 84

Age pension

  1. The adequacy of the single pension needs to be reviewed as a measure to address
    the gender gap in retirement savings, with a view to increasing income for single
    aged pensioners without other income. 85
  2. Age pensioners should be allowed to continue in work and earn the equivalent of
    the age pension, "not as a passive income from investments but
    as a productive, intelligent contributor to productivity". 86

Financial advice

  1. Specialised financial planners are needed who will deal with specific issues
    facing women and who are not commissioned. 87

3.4 Low paid work

3.4.1 What we heard

For women in low paid work, adequate pay and conditions were of paramount concern.
Women of Asian backgrounds working in highly casualised factory work raised the issue
of poor hourly rates, with minimum conditions and little prospect of pay progression.
Many women working in a range of low paid jobs do not get work breaks, annual leave or
sick leave. Some women described a lack of simple measures in their workplaces, such as
air-conditioning or a place to sit, that would make their working conditions more
comfortable. Women who work from home in the clothing manufacturing industry get paid
per garment with no superannuation. 88

Women, particularly migrant women, need more support and assistance over
workplace issues

The Asian Women at Work Group highlighted their concern about the lack of formal
support and assistance available to migrant women workers:

Many migrant women have no idea about where to go for information and assistance on
issues we face in the workplace. Some women assume there is nothing they can do. Some
women are used to enterprise unions and so if there is no union in their workplace they
believe there is no union that can assist them. Some women do not know there are laws
to protect them. Sometimes it is our English class teachers that we go to for help, but
they often don't know where we can go for help either. 89

Women in low paid work need stronger minimum workplace
conditions

Workplace and employment conditions were also primary concerns for workers in the
aged care sector, a female dominated workforce. For example, women raised their concern
about the lack of staff to patient ratios, which impacted upon their work intensity,
stress and the quality of care. Time pressure and long hours were also identified as
concerns with the example provided that workers often only had six minutes per patient
every morning to get each person fed, washed, dressed and ready. This was because each
worker was required to attend to 30 patients. Some women will often take on supervisor
duties which require significantly more work for an extra $1 a week. 90

Women working in the aged care sector reported having little control over their
hours of work. Many were employed as permanent part time, but working full time hours.
These women explained that employers were reluctant to make them permanent full time
because they didn't want to guarantee the extra hours. Women reported that if they are
asked to work extra hours the onus is on them to request overtime rates. Otherwise, it
is assumed that the employee agreed to work extra hours at the same rate and overtime
payments are not paid. 91

One woman shared her experience of low pay and her difficulty in finding better
quality work because of her age:

It is difficult to get more quality work because [I am] getting older. I am only
getting $5 per hour, making uniforms at home. I asked my boss for a pay rise and [got]
a rise [of] 20 cents per garment. I only get $5 per hour - I can do
25 garments an hour and I only make a piece of each garment. I don't get a pay slip. 92

Women on '457' working visas are particularly vulnerable
workers

The Women's Employment Rights Project (WERP) at the Inner City Legal Centre voiced
their concern about the conditions of women working on '457' visas. 93 They reported that these women often do not have workplace
protections and are on statutory salaries under Australian Workplace Agreements with
poor working and living conditions. Women on these visas are often unable to question
their employer or make a complaint out of fear of their sponsorship being cancelled.
This problem has been reportedly occurring mainly in the nursing industries. 94

3.4.2 Research and literature

The following research projects were brought to the attention of the Commissioner
during the Listening Tour.

Causes, effects and responses to low pay in Australia

Helen Masterman-Smith and Barbara Pocock from the University of South Australia
reported on their Low Pay Project which examines the dimensions, causes, effects and
responses to low pay in Australia through quantitative and qualitative research. 95 The research identifies the characteristics of low paid work
such as poor wages, limited control over hours of work, occupational health risks and a
weak negotiating position. The research also exposes the impacts of low paid work such
as financial and time poverty, poor health and psycho-social issues.

Women in the aged care sector

Sarah Kaine from the University of Sydney is currently conducting doctoral research
examining employment relations in the aged care sector. Women make up 94 per cent of
the caring workforce, so the research has a specific gender component. Her research has
found that there has been an influx of migrant women from the garment industries and
women falling under the Welfare to Work regime for entry level positions such as
personal care assistants. She concludes that 'care' work continues to be 'invisible'
and a possible explanation for this is the high representation of women in this sector. 96

WorkChoices and women in low income employment

Research conducted by the Women and Work Research Group at the University of Sydney
examines the impact of WorkChoices on low paid women in New South Wales, and with a
larger group, across Australia. 97 Amongst the findings of the
research was that Work Choices was lowering wage rates, lowering employment security
and reducing women's capacity to schedule hours. This was increasing dependence upon
family members, male partners and welfare payments. The research showed that loss of
control over hours directly undermined women's capacity to have a say over the balance
between work and care in their lives. The researchers recommended that consideration be
given to arrangements which would give women some capacity to control scheduling of
hours. The system was especially difficult for women co-managing 'welfare to work' and
WorkChoices.

Another report, published by the Centre for Work + Life at the University of South
Australia, summarises the impact of WorkChoices on 120 Australian women in low paid
employment. 98 The report, based on in-depth interviews,
examines issues such as the workplace climate, pay and conditions, job security, work
and family balance and pay equity. The report concludes that the system of WorkChoices
is unbalanced and has a detrimental impact on women. A key recommendation of the report
is to reinstate the right to unfair dismissal action.

3.4.3 Policy and project ideas

The following policy and project ideas were suggested by participants in the
Listening Tour.

Education and information

  1. Provide funding for Working Women's Centres and similar specialist centres as
    resource places for migrants to get information and assistance on their rights and
    responsibilities at work. 99
  2. Provide education for low paid workers about rights, standards, responsibilities
    and Occupational Health and Safety. 100

Minimum workplace standards

  1. Develop a Workplace Standard for acceptable and unacceptable workplace culture
    including practical measures such as access to toilets when needed, provision of
    toilet paper and facilities to prepare and reheat food; through to measures to
    overcome bullying and racial discrimination and promote cultural and religious
    acceptance. 101
  2. Reinstate much broader minimum protections in the workplace to ensure wages and
    conditions are secure. 102
  3. Repeal Work Choices and strengthen the award based industrial relations system to
    provide for adequate pay and decent working conditions including adequate minimum
    wages. 103
  4. Introduce staff to patient ratios as part of the accreditation process for the
    aged care sector. 104

3.5 Women's workforce participation

3.5.1 What we heard

Paid employment was seen by participants as crucial for building women's economic
independence. On the question of women's workforce participation one woman said:

I definitely see paid employment as important for building economic independence.
Gone are the days where the male controls the money. More often women have their own
bank accounts where we control our own money. 105

However, Listening Tour participants identified a number of barriers that exist for
women's participation in the paid workforce, particularly for marginalised women, women
in regional and remote areas and women returning to work after pregnancy.

Employers have also identified attracting and retaining women workers as an
important business issue, particularly with the increasing skills shortage. One
employer commented that currently a "serious talent pool gets excluded" which needs to
be addressed in the interests of a thriving economy. 106

Women's work decisions are influenced by their social and professional
development needs

An important point raised in a number of community consultations and focus groups
was the motivators for women's workforce participation. A number of women said that
paid workforce participation was an important aspect of their identity, provided a
social network and allowed them to continue to develop professionally.

One man told the story of his partner's workforce participation:

My wife is the country manager for a software house. We had the option that either
one of us could step out [of] paid employment for a period of time. But
... she loved the work, she enjoyed her work ....
We had a routine where I would get up and get the kids ready and get them to day care
and then my wife would basically pick them up in the afternoon. There wasn't really a
purely financial decision, it was more around she would have gone mental ... after only
a couple of months and going from a fairly high powered role to sitting at home, she
was missing the interaction. 107

Women face barriers to continued workforce participation after a break to
care for children

Many women commented on the difficulty of re-entering the paid workforce after a
break to care for children. Issues raised included the availability of work at the same
level, control over the hours of work, lack of family friendly workplace policies and
the need for skills development. 108

One woman noted:

After children, women lack confidence to get back into the workforce, they have low
self esteem, and [a lot has] changed since they were at work. We need to work on
developing skills in return to work cases. 109

Another woman explained the experience of her social network in finding work at the
same level after pregnancy:

I have a lot of friends who are professional women and who have had children.
Overall, many are having trouble reengaging into work at the same level after having a
baby. In most cases they have to take a step back to be able to find a job that fits in
with their caring responsibilities. This is different for men at the same level. 110

There is a significant lack of opportunities for women in regional and
remote areas

There was a clear message from women in regional and remote areas around the lack of
opportunities to participate in the paid workforce. Other barriers to workforce
participation in regional and remote areas include limited transport options and a lack
of training and development opportunities.

One participant from a community consultation in regional South Australia commented
on the experience of women in her community:

Young women with qualifications in maths and science get married to farmers but then
find down the track that they can't get jobs in rural areas. They are in love and yearn
for a career but can't have one. Then there's a frustration at the lack of
opportunities. For many, they have to travel long distances such as one to two hours
drive for jobs that are below their skills level. So they retrain or take a low paid
job. 111

Women in Launceston, Tasmania recounted a similar experience:

There is also the issue for women trying to re-enter the workforce. So many of us
are in service industries because of the lack of [other] opportunities. Skilled women
are going back into the workforce after having children but working in jobs that don't
use their skills because those positions aren't available in regional areas. 112

A participant in a men's focus group said that women's inability to find appropriate
work put increased pressure on men in regional areas to be the primary breadwinner.
Asked if there was one thing the Commissioner could do to make a difference one man
suggested "more casual jobs for women so they can earn more money and go back to work
and take the pressure off." 113

In remote communities, training and employment opportunities are extremely scarce.
One issue is the lack of infrastructure to support training, education and employment.
One woman in Fitzroy Crossing proposed a community 'shed' to allow women in the
community to develop skills and start their own initiatives such as jewellery making,
cooking and child care. She said that many women are bored and looking for
opportunities. 114

There are specific barriers to workforce participation for immigrant and
refugee women

Immigrant and refugee women indicated a number of specific barriers to workforce
participation. These include the recognition of overseas qualifications, access to
training and development and access to English classes. Race discrimination was also a
common barrier to workforce participation. 115

When asked whether she would like to find a better job, one female factory worker of
Asian background said:

Yes, I would. I wish that I could improve my English, and learn computer skills. I
am over 50 but I still have time. I am not in the dark. 116

One service provider stressed the need for better access to English classes as a
precursor to finding paid employment:

Migrant woman are highly dependent on Centrelink, and have no clue about how they
will live in Australia in the future. All of them want to get English classes, and get
into work. They are also the ones helping out in the community, so [the issues are]
very complex. They are interested in things like catering but don't know how to get
self-employed. There is no superannuation at all for these women. 117

African women noted their concern that women in their community often put time into
developing submissions and providing input to government programs, however larger
organisations are offered the government contracts and women in the community miss out
on the employment opportunity. 118

There are specific barriers to workforce participation for Indigenous
women

In metropolitan areas, Indigenous women raised the need for better support to get
into jobs. Many of the jobs provided through the 'Workplace Ventures' program were in
the hospitality industry and required shift work which is incompatible with managing
family responsibilities. 119

Service providers reported that it is impossible to support families on the minimum
wage, yet many Indigenous women are earning minimum wages due to a lack of education,
training and employment opportunities. The loss of transport and health care benefits
when they engage in paid work is also a significant disincentive to find work,
particularly if there have children to support. 120

In remote areas, most employment opportunities are provided through the Community
Development Employment Program (CDEP). For example in Fitzroy Crossing, CDEP provides
many work opportunities for women in the community in areas such as community health
work (including in first aid and environmental health), the women's resource centre,
housing and community maintenance and adult education. 121 The
pending termination of CDEP in a number of communities raised concerns amongst
Indigenous women that it would reduce incomes and further limit employment
opportunities.

3.5.2 Research and literature

The following research project was brought to the attention of the Commissioner
during the Listening Tour.

The relationship between family tax benefits and women's labour force
participation

Elizabeth Hill from the University of Sydney has conducted research to examine the
relationship between the family tax benefit scheme and work disincentives to women's
labour force participation. She has also studied the development of work and family
policies and their impact on women's labour force participation. 122

3.5.3 Policy and project ideas

The following policy and project ideas were suggested by participants in the
Listening Tour.

  1. Examine the culture of employment to identify barriers preventing women's
    workforce participation and develop strategies for removing these barriers to allow
    women to get back in the workforce. 123
  2. Review current family tax benefits with the aim of treating women as equal
    partners with reference to tax. 124
  3. A joint project should be carried out by the Sex Discrimination Commissioner, the
    Race Discrimination Commissioner and the Disability Discrimination Commissioner to
    identify structural barriers to workforce participation for marginalised women. 125

3.6 Women and leadership

3.6.1 What we heard

There was a view that increasing the representation of women at the highest levels
is needed to challenge and change the gendered culture of workplaces and institutions. 126 Participants identified a number of barriers to increased
representation of women at senior levels including the availability of quality part
time work, male oriented workplace cultures, and a lack of family friendly or flexible
work conditions. 127 Indigenous women in particular need to be
supported to move into leadership positions.

The fact that men tend to hold management positions in many female dominated
industries was raised in a number of forums. 128 For example,
in Tasmania women make up 70 per cent of the education sector but only 37 per cent of
management. The representative union for teachers is advocating for skilling and
training courses in management to address this disparity. 129

Employer and workplace attitudes are a barrier to women's
leadership

A female participant pointed out the disparity in what employers say and what they
do in terms of women's leadership:

[Our CEO] has publicly said he would have 50 per cent women in his work force if he
could. But then he also set up an executive structure that is
going to hinder his ability to get women into those senior positions by setting meeting
times that women with caring responsibilities won't be able to attend.
130

Some women pointed to the fact that many male Baby Boomers or early Generation X
"have been brought up in different generational circumstances where their mothers did
not work" as an explanation for the continued lack of women in leadership roles. 131

One male participant noted that women's career progression is hindered by the
emphasis on 'years of experience' which disadvantages women who are in and out of the
paid workforce because of caring responsibilities:

[I]t's part of our own problem with our own mirror, looking at ourselves and saying,
'Well, is it all about experience, or is it more about capability of whoever can do the
job?' So there's a couple of things there that are just traditional that we hang onto,
which we have trouble with casting off. 132

Women may no longer be disadvantaged in accessing leadership
positions

On the question of how to increase women's representation in senior levels, some
people held the view it is a generational issue and will be fixed over time. One man
commented:

I think the younger women that are coming out of school now, out of universities and
through the system, are more confident to put their hand up for jobs that were
traditionally male oriented. And I think engineering is a good example of that. When I
went through school... the only women who were teaching at the school
had home economics and maybe English, and maybe history. Now, when we look at the
schools, there's a lot more women in the education system that are across all
disciplines. 133

One male participant suggested that since the era of equal opportunity and
diversity, employers are actively encouraged to advance women. He stated that "to be a
female in the business world now ... is an advantage" and "there is a
pressure on organizations now to advance women." 134

Indigenous women's leadership needs to be supported

Indigenous women's leadership is critical to the wellbeing of Indigenous communities
as a whole. For example, in Fitzroy Crossing senior women in the community initiated a
women's bush camp to discuss the issues facing the community and canvass potential
solutions. The most recent bush camp resulted in three main objectives: a 12 month
moratorium on the sale of take away alcohol, a stronger focus on the wellbeing of men
and boys, and a better relationship with police. This leadership shown by women in the
community has now led to significant changes in community health, levels of violence,
school attendance and community morale. 135

Started by senior women from the Women's Resource Centre of Yirrikala in north-east
Arnhem Land around 15 years ago, the Night Patrol now operates three vehicles which
patrol the local area every night to provide safe transport for the community, protect
people at risk of violence and defuse potentially violent incidents. One of the key
factors contributing to the success of this patrol is the leadership shown by respected
women in the community who have been the driving forces behind the initiative. The
women who operate the patrol told us about the considerable change since the
introduction of the permit system for the purchase of take away alcohol. Since, the
permits were introduced; the streets have been notably quieter, with a marked decrease
in alcohol-related problems. As with Fitzroy Crossing, this is another example of a
women-led solution to a community problem. 136

3.6.2 Policy and project ideas

The following policy and project ideas were suggested by participants in the
Listening Tour.

  1. Women's leadership in corporate life should be promoted by demonstrating the
    benefits to business of women leaders. 137
  2. Australia should follow the lead of the European Union and set a target for 40
    per cent participation of women at all levels of implementing and managing research
    programs and should link this level of gender equity to university income as a
    performance measure under the Infrastructure Grant Scheme. 138
  3. Require companies to keep statistics around women going on maternity leave and
    their career paths compared to men. These statistics should be given to governments
    and industry bodies to be published. 139
  4. Provide a platform for Indigenous women to act as leaders by having their voices
    heard beyond their communities. 140

3.7 Sole parents and Welfare to Work

3.7.1 What we heard

The Australian government's Welfare to Work policy was brought up at a number of
forums as further marginalising women who are already disadvantaged. The concerns
raised include the difficulties in finding work to fit in with caring requirements, the
rigidity and harshness of the system, and the combined impact with WorkChoices. 141

Welfare to Work amplifies poverty

One participant noted the way in which Welfare to Work amplifies poverty:

One of the issues is ... with the taper rates that women have to
pay on every dollar they earn. This is the way the welfare system works creates
poverty...it's very hard [for women] to advance. 142

The Working Women's Centre of South Australia reported that they were receiving many
calls from women who had been notified that they must start looking for work. The
Centre raised the issue of the limited availability of support services for women
seeking employment and the lack of ability to claim prior learning or to pursue
education to fit in with caring responsibilities. 143

Welfare to Work does not take into account different child care
needs

The subject of the cost and availability of child care is a major concern for sole
mothers getting back into the workforce under the Welfare to Work reforms. 144

Concerns were raised about the Welfare to Work reforms by Mudgin-Gal Aboriginal
Women's Corporation. For grandmothers and mothers who have never worked in this
community, the need to find work when the child turns six is a significant obstacle.
The Corporation reported that the system does not take into account the unique caring
and community responsibilities for Indigenous women, including the sharing of care
within kinship circles. There are many instances where grandmothers and mothers are
taking care of children both within and outside their immediate family. 145

Sole parents need special assistance to combine work and family
responsibilities

One contributor to the blog highlighted the difficulties faced by sole parents at
work and the need for particular consideration to allow them to combine work and family
responsibilities:

Most of the comments I hear about are for married couples, and while it is tough for
them, it is much tougher for sole parents, especially those who have no immediate
family around for support. I really feel sole parents need that extra bit of
consideration at work, similar to the same type of scheme which was used to help women
advance in their careers (Affirmative Action). I feel that treating sole parents the
same way as two-parent families (with up to twice the income) discriminates against
them. For instance, in addition to being transferred to a location 70 km from where I
lived, I was told that I could be rostered on any time between 8 am and 10 pm. I had to
use public transport, and finishing work at 10 pm, I would not have been able to get
home before 1 am, and by that time my children would have been alone for 10 hours, and
without any meal. As it was, they were sometimes alone for 5 hours. I was always afraid
that somebody would contact DOCS and say I was neglecting them, when I was trying to
provide for them. The whole thing was a nightmare and I still have feelings of guilt
and regret. 146

A sole parent at the Mackay community consultation also brought attention to the
extra pressure felt by many sole parents juggling paid work and caring
responsibilities:

I have to race home from work everyday to pick my daughter up from after school care
and then, because I haven't had time after work, I have to spend Saturdays doing the
shopping and other tasks. I don't have time to just hang out with my daughter. 147

3.7.2 Research and literature

The following research project was brought to the attention of the Commissioner
during the Listening Tour.

The impact of Welfare to Work on sole parents in public housing

Sue Goodwin from the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Sydney reported on
her research in the area of gender and social exclusion. Her current research is
focussed on sole parents in public housing on Central Coast, examining the impact of
the Welfare to Work changes. The research was borne out of concern from service
providers about the number of sole parents not meeting the new requirements and not
accessing information. Domestic violence and mental health issues have been experienced
by many of the participants. A new program has been developed arising out of the
research, Women in the Way, which aims to increase self confidence and job
seeking skills for women. This course has had positive outcomes for women, particularly
as many of the women would not otherwise have considered study at TAFE, but it is not
counted toward study for Centrelink purposes. 148

3.7.3 Policy and project ideas

The following policy and project ideas were suggested by participants in the
Listening Tour.

  1. Freeze the suspension of payments program for 18 months to see whether it is
    necessary or whether enough assisted parents fill available suitable jobs. 149
  2. Allow sole parents to use their time on income support payments to upgrade their
    education skills in tertiary and diploma level courses. 150
  3. Introduce a system of affirmative action to overcome the many barriers preventing sole parents from succeeding at work. 151

3. 8 Housing

3.8.1 What we heard

Housing affordability was raised as growing concern for women's economic
independence. The rising cost of housing with interest rate rises and the increase in
rental prices is particularly affecting women on welfare, low paid women, Indigenous
women, women with disabilities, migrant women and refugee women. 152

The cost of housing is a growing problem impacting upon women's economic
independence

In the Perth community consultation, participants reported that the growing cost of
housing with interest rate increases and shortages in the rental market was impacting
upon women's economic independence, with many unable to meet loan or rental payments.
We heard about the particular difficulties faced by low paid women and sole parents. 153

A male focus group participant shared his story, bringing attention to the financial
and relationship pressures of repaying a mortgage:

We worked split shifts so we never saw each other. [I worked] 6am to 4pm, she'd work
4pm to 11pm. We both had to work because we had just got a new home and needed to. [We
h]ad three kids - it got harder then. 154

In Mackay, Listening Tour participants suggested that the lack of affordable housing
meant that women were staying in abusive relationships. 155

Women's lack of economic independence contributes to
homelessness

The Women's Refuge Resource Centre in NSW said that their data from the last 12
years shows that 80 per cent of women who have young children or are pregnant are
coming into refuges without any independent income. These women are struggling to find
housing particularly in the context of rising housing costs. This is placing a strain
on women's refuges because of the long waiting time for public housing. The Centre also
commented that a major cause of homelessness in New South Wales is domestic violence. 156

Disadvantaged young women are at particular risk of
homelessness

A visit to a young women's refuge in Tasmania brought to light the stories of a
number of disadvantaged young women who are homeless or at risk of violence. These
women often came from violent homes, had a history of drug and alcohol abuse and
limited access to education or training opportunities.

I am 14 years old and living at Annie Kenney Young Women's refuge and this is my
story. I never knew my Dad and always lived with my Mum. She got married when I was
young to another guy. I was his little girl. I loved him a lot, but when he got drunk
he would bash into my Mum until one day she had enough. And he went and got drunk and
passed out in a gutter and got run over by a drink driver and died. I was so upset.
Then me and my mum started to fight a lot. I tried to commit suicide. I tried hanging
and overdosed 2 times - and then cutting instead of doing all of
that. I started to smoke and me and Mum still kept fighting. I have moved out before to
my cousin's but that didn't work, so I was cutting again and the fighting kept going
- and smoking - and then one day I started to
drink. So me and mum had a fight again and I moved out. If it wasn't for Annie Kenney I
would be sleeping on a park bench. 157

There are particular difficulties in finding adequate housing for
refugees

One service provider highlighted the particular housing problems for refugees,
especially those on visas under the special humanitarian program. These refugees are
unable to get health or housing support which places tremendous pressures on service
providers. Women who bear the responsibility for managing household responsibilities
with little support bear considerably greater difficulties. 158

There is a scarcity of appropriate and healthy housing in Indigenous
communities

The lack of appropriate and healthy housing was a key issue raised during the
Listening Tour in Fitzroy Crossing, Western Australia. There had been no major housing
built in the region since the 1970s. The money that is provided to the local housing
association does not include maintenance money, so nearly all of the houses are in ill
repair and overcrowded. For example, one woman reported that she lives in a 'donga' (a
tin shed) with 50 other people. All the men live in one end of the donga, and all the
women live in the other end. There were lots of pools of water on the flooring and the
roof was not properly attached. Service providers said that a lot of young people live
in crowded housing with older people because there is simply nowhere for them to move
to. It is also difficult to employ people to work in communities because of the
scarcity of housing. 159

People from an Indigenous town camp community in Darwin reported that there were
only 52 homes for a population of between 500 and 1000 people. Of these homes, only
three have stoves that work. The public housing waiting time is usually 29 months and
seven months if the situation is considered to be absolutely critical. 160

Services providers was reported a similar situation with housing for communities in
north-east Arnhem Land. 161 Overcrowding combined with alcohol
abuse his impacting upon women's safety in the community, putting them at greater risk
of domestic violence. People also suggested that the condition of houses had an adverse
impact on the health of community members. 162

Indigenous elders and students in Mackay also identified housing as a priority
issue. Participants said that they had difficulty in finding both public and private
housing, with the limited availability of public housing and steep prices of private
housing. Some said that people attempting to find rental housing often experienced
racial discrimination. 163

3. 9 Education, skills development and
training

3.9.1 What we heard

Participants in the Listening Tour widely recognised the advances made in women's
access to education and training. However, this remains a significant challenge for
particular groups of women such as Indigenous women, migrant and refugee women, women
in prison, welfare recipients and women with disabilities.

Another issue raised under this sub-theme was the ability of women, particularly
mature age students, to pay off higher education loans.

Some programs successfully expand Indigenous people's access to
education

Education opportunities were identified as extremely important for the economic
status and wellbeing of Indigenous women. Yet there are significant cultural barriers
to Indigenous women's access to mainstream education providers. One example of a
successful program is a special block release course initiated by the University of
Technology in Sydney and targeted to Indigenous people. The course requires one week of
attendance, followed by learning support provided at home with a tutor and study
groups. This assists students to manage family responsibilities, although the issue of
child care during the week of class attendance is still an issue. Another positive
aspect of this course is that its specific Indigenous focus encourages Indigenous
people to apply. 164

Another example is the Mulka Project in Yirrikala, North East Arnhem which aims to
build the skills of local young people by teaching them to use digital media to express
their stories and ideas. At the school, there is a program for training the students in
film and documentary production which runs up to Year 12. The Project has had
difficulty keeping their graduates, who are being recruited by film producers around
Australia. The project employed several high school students in school holidays. 165

In Fitzroy Crossing, the Adult Education Centre reported the highest demand for
education in recent times. The Centre could keep another two staff occupied full time
to meet the needs of the community. Education needs tend to be responsive to immediate
requirements of community members such as assistance with drivers license and job
applications, rather than long term career planning. 166 Parenting skills for young mothers is another area of identified need. 167 The attraction and retention of teachers is a key issue in
providing quality education in these schools. 168

Indigenous students in Mackay reported experiences of racism from TAFE teachers on a
daily basis. One participant said, "Some teachers put us down. They don't think we can
achieve [in education] because we are black". Another student said that her teacher
told her that she will not get into university and will get pregnant soon. 169

Migrant and refugee women need further education to support their workforce
participation and career progression

Access to education was also raised as a significant issue for refugee and migrant
women, particularly as a strategy for increasing their workforce participation and
career progression. One woman shared her experience of the Australian education system
as an African refugee:

Refugee African women are not entitled to HECS. Previously, when I had a concession
card, I could apply for education, but the regulations are changing every year. When I
started, I only had to pay about $120. It was a bit easier for TAFE, but at the moment,
you can't get into TAFE. I did a Diploma for two years and a half. But in the last
year, I had to pay $600. 170

For many migrant women, access to English is a priority to allow them to communicate
in their workplaces, understand their rights and obligations and to open up further
education options to facilitate career progression. Asian Women at Work report that
there is a lack of accessible English classes for working women which limits their work
options for the future. 171

Women in prison are particularly disadvantaged in accessing education,
training and employment

In their submission to the Listening Tour, the Australian Federation of University
Women noted the particularly disadvantaged position of women in prison in relation to
education, training and employment opportunities.

While training and education are theoretically provided to women in prison, the
majority of women prisoners are on remand or are serving short-term sentences, which
may make them ineligible for training inside the prison. 172

Welfare recipients with caring responsibilities face difficulties in
accessing education

A number of Listening Tour participants brought attention to the Welfare to Work
reforms and the capacity of people on welfare such as sole parents to access tertiary
study. Under the reforms, part-time study, which would be the most appropriate for
individuals with caring responsibilities, is not recognised as meeting their minimum
work requirements. This presents a significant barrier for those who are wishing to
build their skills to re enter the workforce. 173

Women take longer to pay off higher education debts

Another factor that impacts on women's economic independence is the cost of higher
education and the ability of women to pay off higher education (HECS/HELP) debts. The
Australian Federation of University Women drew attention to the inequity of the system,
where due to women's lower overall pay, it take longer to pay off the debt. Mature age
students, especially those with caring responsibilities, are faced with the prospect of
significant debts over a period of time if they wish to pursue tertiary study.
174 These students require extra support to manage their caring
responsibilities with study commitments. 175

One woman recounted her experience in an email to the Commissioner:

One issue that has been of concern to myself, and I imagine other university
educated women is the payment of HECS fees. My story is that I returned to university
later in life and having completed my degree last year I now find myself pregnant with
my first child. As I wish to remain at home to raise my child until they enter formal
schooling I will be out of the work force for at least 5 years. During this time my
HECS debt will increase, with no ability for me to pay this debt off. Like the inherent
discrimination within the superannuation system, it appears that the HECS system faces
similar issues, especially for mature age students. 176

3.9.2 Research and literature

The following research projects were brought to the attention of the Commissioner
during the Listening Tour.

Women and vocational education and training

The organisation Women in Adult and Vocational Education have released a report that
focuses on women and girls to identify priority areas and accommodate diverse
perspectives and needs of women in Vocational Education and Training (VET). 177 It highlights the need for expanded opportunities for technical and
trade training for girls and women in areas of skills shortages, increased funding for
training opportunities for Indigenous women and more training places targeting women in
low paid casualised jobs. It recommends the endorsement and implementation of VET
equity related principles for women, key performance indicators, a specific women's
policy and an incentive program for women.

Women and work related learning

Another report by Women in Adult and Vocational Education is based on a number of
smaller research projects designed to provide snapshots of different groups of women
within the area of work related learning, with particular reference to women who are
not well served through the current Vocational Education and Training (VET) system. 178 The research reports on the aspirations for paid work,
educational requirements, experiences of education and available support for five
groups of women: young women and girls, Indigenous women, women from low socio-economic
backgrounds, women and micro and small business and women retraining and returning to
work.

Young pregnant women and education

The Association of Women Educators, in the report 'Present, Proud and Pregnant',
examines the issues surrounding young pregnant women and their access to education. The
report discusses research on young mothers and provides an overview of how education
systems are responding to the issues. The author recommends a range of strategies that
educational institutions can adopt to retain pregnant women and young mothers in
schools. 179

3.9.3 Policy and project ideas

The following policy and project ideas were suggested by participants in the
Listening Tour.

  1. Access to English classes in the workplace should be improved. The Workplace
    English Language and Literacy Program, through which workers can access classes in
    their workplaces, is a highly regarded program but few employers are taking it up.
    Provide incentives for employers to set up English language classes. 180
  2. Community Groups should be able to access funding to run English classes close to
    workplaces, before or after working hours. 181
  3. The Higher Education Loan Program should be expanded to help women achieve their
    full educational and employment potential. 182
  4. The quality and availability of education programs for women prisoners should be
    reviewed and improved. 183

3.10 Bibliography

Asian Women at Work Action Group, 'Workplace Issues for Migrant Women Workers and
Responses Needed from Federal Government' (2007)

Austen, Siobhan, Jefferson, Therese and Preston, Alison 'Women and Australia's
Retirement Income System' (2002) <http://www.cbs.curtin.edu.au/files/Women_and_Australia_s_Retirement_Income_System.pdf>
at 14 April 2008

Austen, Siobhan, Jefferson, Therese and Sharp, Rhonda, 'Introduction to the Special
Issue on Retirement Incomes in Australia' (2007) 10(2) Australian Journal of Labour
Economics

Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Labour Market Statistics, April
2008, Cat. 6105.0
(2008)

Australian Bureau of Statistics, Average Weekly Earnings, Australia, February
2008, Cat no. 6302.0
(2008)

Australian Federation of University Women Inc., 'March 2008 Submission to the Sex
Discrimination Commissioner' (2008)

Boulden, Kay 'Present Pregnant and Proud: Keeping pregnant students and young mums
in education' (Association of Women Educators, 2000)

Butler, Elaine 'Towards a sustainable economic future: Women and vocational
education and training' (Women in Adult and Vocational Education, 2007)

Elton, Jude, Bailey, Janis et al, 'Women and WorkChoices: Impacts on the Low Pay
Sector. Summary Report. ' (Centre for Work + Life, University of South Australia,
2007)

Clare, R 'Are retirement savings on track?' (The Association of Superannuation Funds
of Australia Limited 2007)

Cooper, Rae Baird, Marian and Oliver, Damian 'Down and Out with Work Choices: The
Impact of Work Choices on the Work and Lives of Women in Low Paid Employment' (Women
and Work Research Group, University of Sydney, 2007)

Hill, Elizabeth 'Summary of research for Sydney Academic Roundtable' (University of
Sydney, 2007)

Jefferson, Therese 'Discussing retirement: Insights from a Qualitative Research
Project' (2007) 10(2) Australian Journal of Labour Economics 129

Kelly, S 'Entering Retirement: the Financial Aspects' (Paper presented at the
Communicating the Gendered Impact of Economic Policies: The Case of Women's Retirement
Incomes, Perth, 12-13 December 2006)

Sharp, Rhona and Austen, Sibhoan 'The 2006 Federal Budget: A Gender Analysis of the
Superannuation Tax Concessions' (2007) 10(2) Australian Journal of Labour
Economics
61

Todd, Trish and Eveline, Joan 'Report on the Review of the Gender Pay Gap in Western
Australia' (School of Economics and Commerce, The University of Western Australia,
2004)

Turner-Zeller, Kimberley and Butler, Elaine 'Lifelong Learning: Work related
education and training Meeting the needs of Australian Women' (Women in Adult and
Vocational Education, 2007)

Women's Electoral Lobby Australia Inc., '2007 Federal Election: the Issues at Stake'
(2007)

Women's Information and Referral Exchange Inc., 'Women's Financial Literacy Research
Report' (Women's Information and Referral Exchange Inc., 2007)

^top


[4]Tamara, Blog entry (2008) Human Rights and
Equal Opportunity Commission Listening Tour website at 21 March 2008

[5]Australian Bureau of Statistics, Average Weekly
Earnings, Australia, February 2008, Cat no. 6302.0
(2008)

[6]Australian Bureau of Statistics, Average Weekly
Earnings, Australia, February 2008, Cat no. 6302.0
(2008)

[7]Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Labour
Market Statistics, April 2008, Cat. 6105.0
(2008)

[8]Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Labour
Market Statistics, April 2008, Cat. 6105.0
(2008)

[9]R Clare, 'Are retirement savings on track?' (The
Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia Limited 2007)

[10]S Kelly, 'Entering Retirement: the Financial Aspects'
(Paper presented at the Communicating the Gendered Impact of Economic Policies: The
Case of Women's Retirement Incomes, Perth, 12-13 December 2006)

[11]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Canberra Community Consultation' (2008)

[12]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sex
Discrimination Commissioner's Listening Tour - Women's focus group 6
(2008)

[13]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sex
Discrimination Commissioner's Listening Tour - Women's focus group 6
(2008)

[14]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 'Mackay
Community Consultation, Queensland' (2008)

[15]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Meeting with Unions Tasmania' (2007)

[16]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sex
Discrimination Commissioner's Listening Tour - Women's focus group 5
(2008)

[17]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sex
Discrimination Commissioner's Listening Tour - Women's focus group 7
(2008)

[18]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Adelaide Community Consultation' (2007)

[19]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sex
Discrimination Commissioner's Listening Tour - Women's focus group 7
(2008)

[20]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sex
Discrimination Commissioner's Listening Tour - Women's focus group 7
(2008)

[21]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 'Men's
focus group 4' (2008)

[22]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 'Men's
focus group 5' (2008)

[23]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 'Men's
focus group 5' (2008)

[24]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sex
Discrimination Commissioner's Listening Tour - Women's focus group 3
(2007);
Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 'Salisbury City Community
Consultation, South Australia' (2007)

[25]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Salisbury City Community Consultation, South Australia' (2007)

[26]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Launceston Chamber of Commerce Business Roundtable' (2007)

[27]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Melbourne Community Consultation' (2008)

[28]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sex
Discrimination Commissioner's Listening Tour - Darwin Community Consultation
(2008)

[29]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sex
Discrimination Commissioner's Listening Tour - Women's focus group 5
(2008)

[30]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sex
Discrimination Commissioner's Listening Tour - Women's focus group 8
(2008)

[31]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 'Men's
focus group 3' (2007)

[32]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sex
Discrimination Commissioner's Listening Tour - Darwin Community Consultation
(2008)

[33]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 'Notes
from Sydney Academic Roundtable, co hosted by Women and Work Research Group,'
(2007)

[34]Trish Todd and Joan Eveline, 'Report on the Review of
the Gender Pay Gap in Western Australia' (School of Economics and Commerce, The
University of Western Australia, 2004)

[35]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Adelaide Community Consultation' (2007)

[36]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sex
Discrimination Commissioner's Listening Tour - Adelaide Business Consultation
(2007)

[37]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 'NSW
Peak Women's Roundtable' (2007)

[38]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 'Sydney
Community Consultation' (2007)

[39]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 'Perth
Community Consultation' (2008)

[40]The Australian Federation of University Women Inc.,
'March 2008 Submission to the Sex Discrimination Commissioner' (2008)

[41]The Australian Federation of University Women Inc.,
'March 2008 Submission to the Sex Discrimination Commissioner' (2008)

[42]The Australian Federation of University Women Inc.,
'March 2008 Submission to the Sex Discrimination Commissioner' (2008)

[43]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Listening Tour website (2007)
http://www.humanrights.gov.au/listeningtour/themes.html at 14 May 2008

[44]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sex
Discrimination Commissioner's Listening Tour - Women's focus group 6
(2008)

[45]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 'Hobart
Community Consultation' (2007)

[46]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Canberra Community Consultation' (2008)

[47]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Meeting with Unions Tasmania' (2007)

[48]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Meeting with National Women's Secretariats' (2007)

[49]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 'Murray
Bridge Community Consultation, South Australia' (2007)

[50]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 'Men's
focus group 5' (2008)

[51]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sex
Discrimination Commissioner's Listening Tour - Women's focus group 7
(2008)

[52]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sex
Discrimination Commissioner's Listening Tour - Women's focus group 6
(2008)
Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 'Launceston Community Consultation'
(2007)

[53]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 'Older
people's focus group' (2008)

[54]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 'Mackay
Community Consultation, Queensland' (2008)

[55]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 'Perth
Community Consultation' (2008)

[56]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 'Perth
Community Consultation' (2008)

[57]Anonymous, Blog entry (2007) Human Rights and
Equal Opportunity Commission Listening Tour website at 18 December 2007

[58]Anonymous, Blog entry (2007) Human Rights and
Equal Opportunity Commission Listening Tour website at 14 December 2007

[59]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 'Sydney
Community Consultation' (2007)

[60]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sex
Discrimination Commissioner's Listening Tour - Adelaide Business Consultation
(2007)

[61]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 'Older
people's focus group' (2008)

[62]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Brisbane Community Consultation' (2008)

[63]Letter from Women's Action Alliance (Victoria), to
Elizabeth Broderick, 21 January 2008

[64]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Meeting with National Women's Secretariats' (2007)

[65]Maggie, Blog entry (2008) Human Rights and
Equal Opportunity Commission Listening Tour website at 8 February 2008

[66]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Meeting with Mudgin-Gal Aboriginal Women's Corporation, Redfern, NSW'
(2007)

[67]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 'Sydney
Community Consultation' (2007)

[68]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sex
Discrimination Commissioner's Listening Tour - Women's focus group 2
(2007)

[69]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Brisbane Community Consultation' (2008)

[70]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sex
Discrimination Commissioner's Listening Tour - Women's focus group 1
(2007)

[71]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Canberra Community Consultation' (2008)

[72]Susan, Blog entry (2007) Human Rights and
Equal Opportunity Commission Listening Tour website at 5 December 2007

[73]Diana Olsberg, 'Summary of research findings for
Sydney Academic Roundtable' (University of NSW, 2007); Human Rights and Equal
Opportunity Commission, 'Notes from Sydney Academic Roundtable, co hosted by Women
and Work Research Group,' (2007);

[74]Therese Jefferson, Siobhan Austen and Alison Preston,
'Women and Australia's Retirement Income System' (2002)  
<http://www.cbs.curtin.edu.au/files/Women_and_Australia_s_Retirement_Inc…;
at 14 April 2008; Rhonda Sharp and Siobhan Austen, 'The 2006 Federal Budget: A Gender
Analysis of the Superannuation Tax Concessions' (2007) 10(2) Australian Journal
of Labour Economics
61; Therese Jefferson, Siobhan Austen and Rhonda Sharp,
'Introduction to the Special Issue on Retirement Incomes in Australia' (2007) 10(2) Australian Journal of Labour Economics ; Therese Jefferson, 'Discussing
retirement: Insights from a Qualitative Research Project' (2007) 10(2) Australian
Journal of Labour Economics
129

[75]Therese Jefferson, 'Discussing retirement: Insights
from a Qualitative Research Project' (2007) 10(2) Australian Journal of Labour
Economics
129

[76]Women's Information and Referral Exchange Inc.,
'Women's Financial Literacy Research Report' (Women's Information and Referral
Exchange Inc., 2007)

[77]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Salisbury City Community Consultation, South Australia' (2007)

[78]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Launceston Community Consultation' (2007)

[79]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Launceston Community Consultation' (2007)

[80]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Meeting with Unions Tasmania' (2007); Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Perth Community Consultation' (2008)

[81]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Meeting with Unions Tasmania' (2007)

[82]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Melbourne Community Consultation' (2008)

[83]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 'Perth
Community Consultation' (2008)

[84]Queensland Public Sector Union, 'Submission to the
"Listening Tour" with Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick'
(2008)

[85]The Australian Federation of University Women Inc.,
'March 2008 Submission to the Sex Discrimination Commissioner' (2008)

[86]Maggie, Blog entry (2008) Human Rights and
Equal Opportunity Commission Listening Tour website at 8 February 2008

[87]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sex
Discrimination Commissioner's Listening Tour - Women's focus group 3
(2007).

[88]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sex
Discrimination Commissioner's Listening Tour - Women's focus group 2
(2007)

[89]Asian Women at Work Action Group, 'Workplace Issues
for Migrant Women Workers and Responses Needed from Federal Government'
(2007)

[90]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sex
Discrimination Commissioner's Listening Tour - Women's focus group 6
(2008)

[91]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sex
Discrimination Commissioner's Listening Tour - Women's focus group 6
(2008)

[92]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sex
Discrimination Commissioner's Listening Tour - Women's focus group 2
(2007)

[93]Migration Regulations 1994  (Cth)
sub-reg 457

[94]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 'NSW
Peak Women's Roundtable' (2007)

[95]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Adelaide Academic Roundtable co-hosted by the Centre for Work and Life, University
of South Australia' (2007)

[96]Sarah Kaine, 'Summary of research for Sydney Academic
Roundtable' (University of Sydney, 2007)
Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 'Notes from Sydney Academic
Roundtable, co hosted by Women and Work Research Group,' (2007)

[97]Marian Baird, Rae Cooper and Damian Oliver, 'Down and
Out with Work Choices: The Impact of Work Choices on the Work and Lives of Women in
Low Paid Employment' (Women and Work Research Group, University of Sydney, 2007); Rae
Cooper, 'Summary of research for Sydney Academic Roundtable' (University of Sydney,
2007); Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 'Notes from Sydney Academic
Roundtable, co hosted by Women and Work Research Group,' (2007)

[98]Janis Bailey, Jude Elton et al, 'Women and
WorkChoices: Impacts on the Low Pay Sector. Summary Report. ' (Centre for Work +
Life, University of South Australia, 2007); Human Rights and Equal Opportunity
Commission, 'Adelaide Academic Roundtable co-hosted by the Centre for Work and Life,
University of South Australia' (2007)

[99]Asian Women at Work Action Group, 'Workplace Issues
for Migrant Women Workers and Responses Needed from Federal Government'
(2007)

[100]Asian Women at Work Action Group, 'Workplace Issues
for Migrant Women Workers and Responses Needed from Federal Government'
(2007)

[101]Asian Women at Work Action Group, 'Workplace Issues
for Migrant Women Workers and Responses Needed from Federal Government'
(2007)

[102]Asian Women at Work Action Group, 'Workplace Issues
for Migrant Women Workers and Responses Needed from Federal Government'
(2007)

[103]Women's Electoral Lobby Australia Inc., '2007
Federal Election: the Issues at Stake' (2007)

[104]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sex Discrimination Commissioner's Listening Tour - Women's focus group 6 (2008)

[105]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sex Discrimination Commissioner's Listening Tour - Women's focus group 7 (2008)

[106]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Launceston Chamber of Commerce Business Roundtable' (2007); Human Rights and Equal
Opportunity Commission, 'Melbourne Business Roundtable' (2008); Human Rights and
Equal Opportunity Commission, Sex Discrimination Commissioner's Listening Tour -
Adelaide Business Consultation
(2007)

[107]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Men's focus group 3' (2007)

[108]See ‘Balancing Work and Family
over the Life Cycle' for further findings on this topic.

[109]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Murray Bridge Community Consultation, South Australia' (2007)

[110]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sex Discrimination Commissioner's Listening Tour - Darwin Community
Consultation
(2008)

[111]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Murray Bridge Community Consultation, South Australia' (2007)

[112]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Launceston Community Consultation' (2007)

[113]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Men's focus group 1' (2007)

[114]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Fitzroy Crossing Community Consultation' (2008)

[115]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Mackay Community Consultation, Queensland' (2008); Human Rights and Equal
Opportunity Commission, 'NSW Peak Women's Roundtable' (2007); Human Rights and Equal
Opportunity Commission, Sex Discrimination Commissioner's Listening Tour -
Women's focus group 5
(2008).

[116]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sex Discrimination Commissioner's Listening Tour - Women's focus group 2 (2007)

[117]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Meeting with National Women's Secretariats' (2007)

[118]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sex Discrimination Commissioner's Listening Tour - Women's focus group 5 (2008)

[119]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Meeting with Mudgin-Gal Aboriginal Women's Corporation, Redfern, NSW'
(2007)

[120]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Meeting with Mudgin-Gal Aboriginal Women's Corporation, Redfern, NSW'
(2007)

[121]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Meeting with Nindilingarri Cultural Health Services, Fitzroy Crossing'
(2008)

[122]Elizabeth Hill, 'Summary of research for Sydney
Academic Roundtable' (University of Sydney, 2007)
Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 'Notes from Sydney Academic
Roundtable, co hosted by Women and Work Research Group,' (2007)

[123]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Adelaide Community Consultation' (2007)

[124]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Meeting with National Women's Secretariats' (2007)

[125]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Meeting with National Women's Secretariats' (2007)

[126]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Salisbury City Community Consultation, South Australia' (2007); Human Rights and
Equal Opportunity Commission, Sex Discrimination Commissioner's Listening Tour -
Women's focus group 3
(2007)

[127]For a more detailed discussion of these issues
please see ‘Balancing Work and Family over the Life
Cycle'.

[128]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sex Discrimination Commissioner's Listening Tour - Women's focus group 6 (2008)

[129]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Meeting with Unions Tasmania' (2007)

[130]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sex Discrimination Commissioner's Listening Tour - Women's focus group 4 (2008)

[131]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sex Discrimination Commissioner's Listening Tour - Women's focus group 3 (2007)

[132]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Men's focus group 4' (2008)

[133]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Men's focus group 4' (2008)

[134]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Men's focus group 5' (2008)

[135]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Fitzroy Crossing Community Consultation' (2008)

[136]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Meeting with Yirrikala Night Patrol' (2008)

[137]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Melbourne Community Consultation' (2008)

[138]The Australian Federation of University Women Inc.,
'March 2008 Submission to the Sex Discrimination Commissioner' (2008)

[139]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sex Discrimination Commissioner's Listening Tour - Darwin Community
Consultation
(2008)

[140]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Meeting with Mudgin-Gal Aboriginal Women's Corporation, Redfern, NSW'
(2007)

[141]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Perth Community Consultation' (2008); Women's Electoral Lobby Australia Inc., '2007
Federal Election: the Issues at Stake' (2007)

[142]Adelaide community consultation

[143]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Meeting with Working Women's Centre of South Australia' (2007)

[144]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Hobart Community Consultation' (2007)

[145]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Meeting with Mudgin-Gal Aboriginal Women's Corporation, Redfern, NSW'
(2007)

[146]Nella, Blog entry (2007) Human Rights and
Equal Opportunity Commission Listening Tour website at 5 December 2007

[147]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Mackay Community Consultation, Queensland' (2008)

[148]Sue Goodwin, 'Summary of research for Sydney
Academic Roundtable' (2007)
Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 'Notes from Sydney Academic
Roundtable, co hosted by Women and Work Research Group,' (2007)

[149]Women's Electoral Lobby Australia Inc., '2007
Federal Election: the Issues at Stake' (2007)

[150]Women's Electoral Lobby Australia Inc., '2007
Federal Election: the Issues at Stake' (2007)

[151]Nella, Blog entry (2007) Human Rights and
Equal Opportunity Commission Listening Tour website at 5 December 2007

[152]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Perth Community Consultation' (2008)

[153]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Perth Community Consultation' (2008)

[154]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Men's focus group 2' (2007)

[155]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Mackay Community Consultation, Queensland' (2008)

[156]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 'NSW
Peak Women's Roundtable' (2007)

[157]Annie Kenney Young Women's Refuge, 'Story from a
client' (2007)

[158]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Melbourne Community Consultation' (2008)

[159]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Fitzroy Crossing Community Consultation' (2008)

[160]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Bagot Community Consultation, Darwin' (2008)

[161]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Meeting with Laynhapuy Homelands Association' (2008)

[162]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Fitzroy Crossing Community Consultation' (2008); Human Rights and Equal Opportunity
Commission, 'Bagot Community Consultation, Darwin' (2008);

[163]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Meeting with Indigenous elders and students, Mackay, Queensland' (2008)

[164]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Meeting with Mudgin-Gal Aboriginal Women's Corporation, Redfern, NSW'
(2007)

[165]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Meeting with the Mulka Project, Yirrikala' (2008)

[166]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Meeting with Karrayili Adult Education Centre, Fitzroy Crossing' (2008)

[167]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Fitzroy Crossing Community Consultation' (2008)

[168]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Meeting with Marninwarntikura Women's Resource Centre, Fitzroy Crossing'
(2008)

[169]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Meeting with Indigenous elders and students, Mackay, Queensland' (2008)

[170]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sex Discrimination Commissioner's Listening Tour - Women's focus group 5 (2008)

[171]Asian Women at Work Action Group, 'Workplace Issues
for Migrant Women Workers and Responses Needed from Federal Government'
(2007)

[172]The Australian Federation of University Women Inc.,
'March 2008 Submission to the Sex Discrimination Commissioner' (2008)

[173]Letter from Women's Action Alliance (Victoria), to
Elizabeth Broderick, 21 January 2008; Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Meeting with Working Women's Centre of South Australia' (2007)

[174]The Australian Federation of University Women Inc.,
'March 2008 Submission to the Sex Discrimination Commissioner' (2008)

[175]Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission,
'Brisbane Community Consultation' (2008)

[176]Email to Elizabeth Broderick, 25 January
2008.

[177]Elaine Butler and Kimberley Turner-Zeller, 'Lifelong
Learning: Work related education and training Meeting the needs of Australian Women'
(Women in Adult and Vocational Education, 2007)

[178]Elaine Butler, 'Towards a sustainable economic
future: Women and vocational education and training' (Women in Adult and Vocational
Education, 2007)

[179]Kay Boulden, 'Present Pregnant and Proud: Keeping
pregnant students and young mums in education' (Association of Women Educators,
2000)

[180]Asian Women at Work Action Group, 'Workplace Issues
for Migrant Women Workers and Responses Needed from Federal Government'
(2007)

[181]Asian Women at Work Action Group, 'Workplace Issues
for Migrant Women Workers and Responses Needed from Federal Government'
(2007)

[182]The Australian Federation of University Women Inc.,
'March 2008 Submission to the Sex Discrimination Commissioner' (2008)

[183]The Australian Federation of University Women Inc.,
'March 2008 Submission to the Sex Discrimination Commissioner' (2008)