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Barriers to women returning to work
AUSTRALIA is missing out on millions of working hours each year from professional women because of outdated childcare policies according to a peak industry body.

In a report on gender equality, Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM),  said childcare limits stopped many professional women from returning to work.
The report by the leading project management organisation said KPMG had estimated that reducing workforce disincentives facing professional, university educated women could add up to 12 million working hours to the economy annually.
That is the  equivalent of an extra 6500 highly talented women in the Australian workforce.
The report by AIPM identified eight imperatives for improving gender equity in senior industry levels.
It found that reforming Federal Government childcare policy would encourage many female executives to stay in the workforce full-time after starting a family – boosting gender equity and the GDP.
 CEO Elizabeth Foley said the reform was crucial because six in 10 Australians still worked in industries that were dominated by one gender.
“AIPM’s membership comes predominantly from project-based organisations in male dominated industry groups, such as mining, construction, manufacturing, information, media and technical services,” she said.
“Women represent just 22% of our members. This reflects the male dominance of project management-based industries and doesn’t reflect the available female skills and talent out there.”
Ms Foley said childcare reforms introduced in 2018 by the Federal Government presented significant disincentives to women from professional backgrounds returning to work after having children.
“Under the current settings, if combined family income exceeds the set upper limits by just one dollar, the amount provided by the Child Care Subsidy Scheme plunges by at least half and in some circumstances by more than half,” she said.
“These built-in financial cliffs really exacerbate the work disincentives facing younger working mothers, dissuading them from working more than three days a week. And that’s a real pity, because it’s only by working full time that they can properly achieve career mastery.”
The AIPM’s report identifies changes required to bring gender equity to the workplace. As well as childcare reform, they include building a work culture that values women, closing gender-defined gaps in pay and superannuation and breaking down the gender dominance (both male and female) that characterise many industries.
“In Australia, only 25% of the ASX-listed executive leadership team are women,” Ms Foley said.
“At that level, the gender pay gap averages 21.3% – meaning women are being paid almost $26,000 less each year than men filling identical roles and carrying identical responsibilities.”
AIPM is a premier, longest-serving body for project management in Australia. It is recognised by Australian business, industry and government as a key promoter, developer and leader in project management professionalism.


Michael Walls
0407 783 413

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