NSW to provide more economic opportunities to women to enter workforce

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Empowering women and improving their economic opportunities will be the focus of the NSW Government’s landmark Women’s Economic Opportunities Review and Expert Reference Panel.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said the Review will focus on supporting women to enter, re-enter and stay in the workforce, including through identifying opportunities to reduce salary and superannuation discrepancy and improve access to and affordability of childcare.

“The time has come to level the playing field, making sure more women have more choice and opportunities when it comes to their careers,” Perrottet said.

“We know there is more work to do to improve conditions for more women to succeed in the workplace and have greater choice in their lives. This Review will help find ways to increase women’s leadership opportunities and enable flexibility for working parents.”

Treasurer Matt Kean said the 2021-22 NSW Intergenerational Report found the economy would be eight per cent larger by 2060-61 if women’s participation reached parity with men.

“Women are underrepresented in our trades, our offices and our boardrooms, and for the State to be more productive we need everyone who wants to work to be able to do so,” Mr Kean said.

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“I want to make sure a girl born today has the same opportunities as a boy born in the hospital room next door, which has not been the case for their mothers and grandmothers before them.”

Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor said the NSW Government is committed to creating a more even gender mix across industries, supporting female entrepreneurs to run their own businesses and increasing workplace flexibility.

“Too often women leave the workforce or reduce their working hours out of necessity, not choice. It is therefore no surprise that women have only two thirds of the superannuation saved compared to men,” Mrs Taylor said.

“If we increase the number of women in the workforce we will improve their economic security and wellbeing across a lifetime, bringing enormous social and economic benefits to everyone in NSW.”

Minister for Education and Early Learning Sarah Mitchell said the Review will develop recommendations to improve quality, accessibility and affordability of childcare and early childhood education for families.

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“The Review will provide key insights into the childcare needs of working parents, which will contribute to the broader early learning reform work that I am undertaking, designed to create greater educational outcomes for our littlest learners.”

The Review will be conducted by the NSW Government and supported by an Expert Reference Panel. Sam Mostyn AO, President of Chief Executive Women will chair the panel. The other members are:

–       Maha Abdo OAM, CEO Muslim Women Association;

–       Blair Comley PSM, Partner EY Port Jackson Partners;

–       Jillian Kilby, CEO and Founder of The Infrastructure Collaborative and The Exchange;

–       Leslie Loble, Co-Chair of the Council on Early Childhood Development; and

–       Daisy Turnbull, writer and teacher.

In addition to the Expert Reference Panel, the Review will be informed by strong external consultation including with the NSW Council for Women’s Economic Opportunity.

Women’s participation in the workforce continues to increase but remains lower than men. In November 2021, ABS data showed the average participation rate of men in NSW was 70 per cent and for women it was 61 per cent.