Women with disability

Women with disability have a considerably lower rate of workforce participation compared to men with disability (49.4 per cent and 57.8 per cent respectively).

 

workforce participation rates for women with disability compared with all women
Data on labour force participation rates for people with disability is for persons 15-64.
Source: ABS, Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings 2015, cat. no. 4430.0, persons 15-64 years.

The workforce participation rates for women with disability (15-64) are 49.4%, compared with all women (15-64) at 71.6%, and men with disability (15-64) at 57.8%. Data on labour force participation rates for people with disability is for persons 15-64.

The Government continues to ensure its mainstream employment services feature a range of interventions, activities and complementary programs to help job seekers with disability, including women. The Government has a number of initiatives which aim to rectify this imbalance. Young people with disability are benefiting from the Government’s Transition to Work and Empowering YOUth initiatives.. There are a further three initiatives supporting young people living with mental health issues.

Following extensive public consultations—including on proposed changes outlined in the Discussion Paper: New Disability Employment Services from 2018, released in late 2016—the Government announced changes in the 2017-18 Budget to improve the performance of Disability Employment Services (DES) to help people with disability find and keep a job.

Where are we?

Young people with disability are benefiting from the Government’s Transition to Work and the Empowering YOUth Initiatives. Approximately seven per cent (or 528) of the Transition to Work caseload is young women with disability.  There are two Empowering YOUth Initiatives focused on supporting skill development of approximately 100 young people with disability per initiative. There are a further three initiatives supporting young people living with mental health issues.

The Government is also investing $9 million for a new national hub for workplace and employment information for people with disability, employers and service providers, accessible through a website or over the telephone.

The Government announced changes in the 2017-18 Budget to improve the performance of DES, to help people with disability find and keep a job.

Approximately 32 per cent of women participants remain employed three months after a period of assistance in DES. This proportion aligns with the general DES caseload employment rate.

As part of broader reforms to DES, the Government’s Building Employer Demand package will engage with employers to raise the profile and create more demand from employers for people with disability. By raising awareness, the Government aims to increase the employment of people with disability, dismantle negative stereotypes and promote best practice in employing people with disability across the community.

jobactive features a range of interventions, activities and complementary programs, which help job seekers with disability into work. The Employment Fund has considerable flexibility, and providers can use this on a wide range of goods and services, including training, professional services, clothing for job interviews, transport, and interpreter services.

Key Actions 2017-18

  • Determine if women with disability face specific barriers to employment by undertaking a gender analysis of the services provided by Disability Employment Services, Australian Disability Enterprises and the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
  • Invest $3 billion in Disability Employment Services and associated services over the next four years to help people with disability get jobs with mainstream employers.
  • Provide for a trial to carefully evaluate whether extending support through Disability Employment Services to a broader range of children with disability in the final years of their schooling can increase the number who successfully transition from school to work, without any adverse effects on their educational attainment. The trial will commence from July 2018, with the voluntary participation of up to 1,000 students with disability.
  • Through the new Launch into Work program, fund pre-employment projects that provide training, mentoring and work experience to assist job seekers to become work ready. Projects are flexible and may be designed to meet the specific needs of women with disability.
  • Consider the recommendations of the Australian Human Rights Commission report, Willing to Work on employment discrimination against Australians with disability.
  1. Department of Employment (2017) advice, as at May 2017