The Strategy lays out the Australian Government’s roadmap to meet its target of reducing the gap in participation rates between women and men (aged 15-64) by 25 per cent by 2025.
Meeting this target will mean that, on top of current projections, an additional 200,000 Australian women will need to enter the workforce.1
The Government has identified five areas which require continued action over the next decade:
- Ensuring affordable, accessible and flexible child care,
- Improving workplace diversity and flexibility,
- Supporting women to innovate, succeed as entrepreneurs and thrive in jobs of the future,
- Strengthening women’s economic security, and
- Enhancing financial incentives to work.
The Strategy identifies six groups of women who experience different or greater barriers in participating in the labour force:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women,
- Culturally and linguistically diverse women,
- Mature age women,
- Rural and regional women,
- Women with disability, and
- Young women.
* Data for rural and regional women is not readily available. Participation rates for people living outside capital cities has been used as a proxy. Workforce participation rates for different groups of women. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women (15+) have a participation rate of 51.5%; culturally and linguistically diverse women (15+) have a participation rate of 47.3%; rural and regional women (15+) have a participation rate of 56.5%; women overall (15+) have a participation rate of 59.2%; women with disability (15-64 years) have a participation rate of 49.4%; young women (15-24 years) have a participation rate of 66.4%; mature age women (55-65 years) have a participation rate of 58.8%.
For these groups, factors such as language, geographical distance or isolation can reinforce existing barriers.
Government policies must also take into account women’s personal preferences, including their own and others’ attitudes to work and family, because these are critical factors in the decisions women make about working.
An integrated approach
The Strategy integrates the key factors affecting women’s choices and opportunities to work to reflect the many inter-related influences on women’s workforce participation. Dealing with these factors in isolation will not create the change needed to enable women to work and achieve economic independence.
The Strategy is flexible, allowing the Government to adapt, adjust and determine the next steps based on monitoring and evaluation of existing and new policies and prevailing social and economic conditions.
It also allows the Government to take into account the varied and complex reasons women have lower participation rates than men, including age, education, family status, cultural background and caring responsibilities.
Implementation and accountability
A new Implementation Plan will be developed each year which will outline action the Australian Government will take over the course of the next 12 months.
Implementation Plans will be released on an annual basis. Key actions for the next year are listed on each of the action area and priority group pages. Future Implementation Plans will also provide an overview of activity over the preceding 12 months and a summary of the key indicators used to measure progress towards meeting the 2025 target.