8 March 2011
Today’s celebrations to mark the special 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day should be topped off with a Federal Government commitment to fund equal pay for workers in the female dominated community and social services sector, according to peak body ACOSS.
The Australian Council of Social Service has been leading the campaign to fund decent wages for sector workers, 85% of whom are women.
“Today is a day for women around the world to rejoice in all the wonderful achievements of the past century, which now sees women at all levels of society, making remarkable contributions to all aspects of both public and private life: driving social change at the community level, and building better futures, working as CEOs and company directors, leading nations, and changing lives,” said ACOSS CEO, Dr Cassandra Goldie.
“This is not to say that the job is done. This is both a day of celebration, and a day for renewed determination. Gender equality is a shared vision that binds all of us together, around the world, but has yet to be secured. We remember all women and girls everywhere who continue to experience oppression, violence, dispossession, poverty and early death, including in Australia. Everywhere, there is indeed a long way to go to reach true gender equality.
“This is nowhere clearer than in Australian workplaces where women still do not receive the same amount of money as men for work of equal or comparable value. And this is no more stark than in the highly feminised community sector.
“The current application for an equal remuneration order before Fair Work Australia provides an historic opportunity to redress this serious pay inequity. However a favourable decision will only be met through increases in funding from the Federal Government as the principal funder of services.
“We have urged both the Federal and State Governments to step up to the plate and commit to fund these crucial increases should the case be successful, and today is the day.
“I can think of no better way for workers in this vital sector to celebrate this auspicious day than by receiving a clear reassurance from the Commonwealth that they will honour what would be a great victory for all of us with commensurate and appropriate funding increases to meet the long awaited equity these workers have been seeking,” Dr Goldie said.
Media contact: Fernando de Freitas – 0419 626 155