Minister for Women to unveil plan for gender equality in Australia

Miriam Webber
Updated March 4 2024 - 10:22am, first published March 3 2024 - 12:00am

Katy Gallagher is set to unveil the federal government's national strategy for gender equality next week, in her first ever speech at the National Press Club.

WATCH: A landmark gender pay gap report reveals which Australian private companies have the largest disparity. The Workplace Gender Equality Agency report released on February 27, 2024, found every Australian industry has a pay gap skewed in favour of men.

The Minister for Women will detail the five-part plan on March 7, International Women's Day, as she calls out "attitudes and stereotypes" towards women that need to change.

It comes after all Australian employers with more than 100 staff were forced to publish data on pay equity last week, for the first time.

The new reporting rules place the onus on businesses to act on their gender pay gaps.

Nationally, men earn 21.7 per cent more than women - including salary, overtime, bonuses and additional payments.

But alongside economic equality, the Albanese government will set its course for addressing gender-based violence, unpaid and paid care, health and leadership, in its new gender equality strategy,

Minister for Women Katy Gallagher is to unveil her gender equality strategy on International Women's Day. Picture by Sitthixay Ditthavong
Minister for Women Katy Gallagher is to unveil her gender equality strategy on International Women's Day. Picture by Sitthixay Ditthavong

Senator Gallagher will also refer to a second annual report on the status of women, showing where intervention is needed.

It will show women are still doing over nine hours more unpaid work and care than men, and 35.7 per cent of women cite their caring responsibilities as the reason they can't do overtime at work.

This is compared to 7.3 per cent of men.

Meanwhile, men aged 60-64 have a median of $53,190 more in their super balances than women the same age, and only 9 per cent of chief executives in the ASX300 are women.

Nationals senator Matt Canavan has called the gender pay gap data 'useless'. Picture by Keegan Carroll
Nationals senator Matt Canavan has called the gender pay gap data 'useless'. Picture by Keegan Carroll

Nationals senator Matt Canavan last week called the gender pay gap data "useless", saying it should "at least correct for the fact that different people work part-time and full-time".

He also said the data would be divisive and encourage men towards hateful views against women, calling such reports "annual Andrew Tate recruitment drives".

"Coalition senator Matt Canavan claims that data on employer gender pay gaps was useless, and Peter Dutton has given those comments tacit support by not calling him out," Senator Gallagher said.

"It's attitudes and stereotypes that need to change."

Government says it 'understands the challenges' 

The government will also focus on its plans to end gender-based violence, which has shifted online and onto phones.

Of women who said they had recently experienced sexual harassment, 57 per cent said it was online or on their mobile.

Meanwhile women's mental health has deteriorated between 2009 and 2021, while the rate of rate of death by suicide for First Nations Women is 2.5 times the rate for non-Indigenous women.

"Women earn less, they suffer from a motherhood penalty when they take time out of work for children, and they retire with lower superannuation balances," Senator Gallagher said.

"The Albanese government understands the challenges that women face and stands committed to levelling the playing field for women."

Miriam Webber

Miriam Webber

Public service and politics reporter

I report on the public service and politics for the Canberra Times. Reach me at miriam.webber@canberratimes.com.au