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AASW calls for greater recognition of women’s paid and unpaid work this International Women’s Day

Published: 8 March 2017

We need greater recognition of women’s work in paid and unpaid roles and of the contribution women make through these roles to our community and economy, Professor Karen Healy AM, President of the Australian Association of Social Workers, said this International Women’s Day.

“Attitudinal and structural change will address lingering discrimination and inequality,” said Professor Healy.

“While men’s unpaid work is related to their employment, women’s consists mostly of caring for others. This takes the form of either childcare in their home, or caring for other people in their family and community.”

She says women’s unpaid work is not recognised or valued as highly as it should be and when it comes to women’s paid work, there are also very clear signs of cultural discrimination.

“Australia’s workforce is highly segregated along gender lines. Eighty per cent of the health care and social assistance industry workforce is made up of women: the highest of any industry in Australia,” Professor Healy said.

“This predominantly female workforce has equally high levels of expertise and qualifications yet takes home less pay than male workers and is paid at lower rates than other sections of the workforce.

“We need to address that women’s average full-time total pay is 23 per cent less than men’s. When our society recognises and fairly rewards the contribution of women, then it will be truly equal,” said Ms Healy.

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers