GEN VIC’s 2022/2023 Victorian State Budget Submission
In GEN VIC’s State Budget Submission 22-23, our members call for innovations that will guard against both of these concerning trends after a disaster, calling for investments that create jobs equally for men, women and gender diverse people rather than investing in gender-segregated job creation. COVID-19 has been a public health disaster and it needs public health led recovery. This means creating jobs that build the health and wellbeing of our community. Victorians, particularly women, suffered from significant health crises before the pandemic hit. After two years of isolated and largely sedentary living in COVID-19 lockdowns, Victorians need investments in public health and wellbeing like never before. Without a healthy and thriving populace, we cannot expect the rapid economic growth we need for the State to get back on its feet.
Preventing further illness and disease will need to be a priority for the next decade. COVID-19 is here to stay. As we learn to live with the virus, there will be increased importance that people recover both personally and professionally, developing strategies for resilience and ensuring everyone benefits from Government investment. A focus on the health and wellbeing of Victorians will be good for men, women and non-binary people.
The long-term effects of COVID-19 are still unfolding – the costs in economic, health and community cohesion terms – remain unclear but is likely to run into the $Billions. The efforts championed by our members in this submission are focused on preventing further ill-health, inequalities and poor outcomes for all people, but especially women. Many of the initiatives anticipate problems before they occur, encouraging early action to avoid acute expenses exploding and secondary disaster for the Victorian community.
GEN VIC’s 2022/2023 Pre-Budget Statement: Victorian State Budget Submission
“The National Women’s labour force participation rate fell to its lowest point, 57.5 per cent, in May 2020, declining by 3.7 percentage points in the space of three months. Men’s labour force participation rate declined to 68.0 per cent, a fall of 2.8 percentage points… This raises concerns that the pandemic has created the circumstances where women are, in fact, more likely to drop out of the workforce completely due to exacerbated gender pay gaps, reduction in lifetime earnings and superannuation.”
The pandemic has further entrenched gender inequality. Global research has shown that women’s jobs were 1.8 times more vulnerable to the pandemic than men’s jobs, with women’s jobs accounting for the majority of global job losses despite women’s employment making up less than half of global employment. Why? It’s likely because the pandemic has significantly increased the burden of unpaid care work, which is disproportionately carried out by women.
We’re going to need a proactive approach to combat this backwards step for gender equality. We need a long-term recovery policy from COVID-19 that takes into account its gendered impact. How can we do this?
Our pre-budget statement sets out exactly why we need a gender lens on government spending going forward to combat the effect COVID-19 has had on gender equality.