In my role as the Minister for Women in NSW, it’s my job every day to advocate for the rights, the hopes and dreams of women and girls in this State how they want to live, work and contribute to their communities.
The NSW Government’s Women’s Opportunity Statement is the first in an ongoing commitment to ensuring there are real choices for women to play an equal role in our workplaces and economy. Choices that don’t require them to make impossible decisions about their health and wellbeing, their safety or their role as a parent or carer.
Throughout the Women’s Economic Opportunity Review, we heard from many women across NSW through focus groups, targeted consultations, surveys, and through a wide range of existing and emerging research and evidence.
We talked to women of all ages and from different backgrounds. First Nations women, women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, women living with disability, women who are carers, LGBTQIA+, live in regional and remote areas of NSW, and are parents, carers, and business owners. We also heard from many organisations that work with or provide support to these women.
The diverse perspectives captured provided us with a greater understanding of the barriers to improving the economic opportunities of women in NSW. Consistently, women told us that:
There is an imbalance between how men and women are treated in society which is exacerbated in the workplace
- There is a need for affordable and accessible childcare, good jobs, and high quality flexible work and workplaces that match the realities of work wand family life
- Gender segregation of the roles men and women work in remains and there are discrepancies across every stage of the employment life cycle from recruitment and selection, performance and career development, and the pathways to leadership
- COVID-19 has had a negative impact on women’s work and finances through loss of employment, income and the pressure to manage families, home schooling and work from home, which has affected workforce productivity and women’s mental health.
We also heard many stories of amazing courage and perseverance to overcome some of these obstacles and evidence of a groundswell of support for change.
The Women’s Opportunity Statement is a massive leap towards addressing these barriers which are entrenched in our society and encompasses a $16.5 billion investment over the next 10 years including up to $5 billion to improve access and the affordability of childcare.
In my role as Minister for Women I will continue to work with my Parliamentary colleagues to continue to break down these barriers and commit to detailing the pathway through the publication of a Women’s Opportunity Statement every year. The NSW Women’s Strategy will stand alongside these Statements which looks to address additional barriers that hold back their achievements and develop further opportunities for women to realise their goals.
I would sincerely like to thank every woman who has generously shared their experiences, ideas and aspirations with us throughout this process. I would also like to extend my deep gratitude to the amazing women who provided their knowledge, expertise and wisdom through the Expert Reference Panel led by Sam Mostyn AO. It has been an honour to work alongside the panel.
I look forward to playing a part in creating a NSW where women have full access to opportunity and choice, live freely and safely and are valued for their diverse experiences.