The childcare sector is 98% composed of female staff. Increasing pay equity in this profession symbolises the ALP strategy to combat decreasing productivity growth by tackling the complexities of our labour market.
But it also speaks to the necessity of attracting women into the workforce more generally.
This is a problem conservatives do not appear to have analysed sufficiently. Tony Abbott leaves himself open to criticism that he is propping up antiquated traditions about the family (code for a male head-of- household) so he can cling to economically unsustainable views about the labour market (that women are supplementary to the “real” earners).
Chris Peers, The Conversation (22/3/2013)
The wages of early childhood educators are clearly a product of the gendering of the sector, as acknowledged by the Government’s commitment to support a pay equity case through Fair Work Australia.
Until the work of the social and community sector is properly valued, and that means wages, this debate will continue. The Government can be applauded for taking the first minor step, but Chris Peers is right in that it does not come close to addressing the complexities of the issue.