Championing for International Women’s Day 2019

How can you help forge a more gender-balanced world?

Last Friday was International Women’s Day 2019 and this year it’s all about creating a balanced world – a balanced world is a better world. Today we think about how we can help forge a more gender-balanced world, celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness against bias and take action for equality.

In celebration of International Women’s Day, Erigo reflects on the residential care workforce and issues facing today’s care workers. The residential care workforce is made up of predominantly women with 82%¹ of workers being female. The ‘Australia’s gender equality scorecard’ reported that 80% of the total Health Care and Social Assistance workforce was female from 2017 – 2018. Women’s workforce participation is concentrated in a few large industries. Health Care and Social Assistance is by far the largest employer of women, followed by Education and Training and then Retail Trade².

Carers – aged care, childcare and disability care workers – have been the No.1 growth occupation in the past 10 years, with an additional 170,000 workers added between the 2006 and 2016 censuses. The majority are women.

This workforce now numbers around half-a-million workers, and has bolstered the booming healthcare sector, which has grown at double the pace of the entire labour market in the past four years alone – 20 per cent compared with 10 per cent. Yet the hourly wage rate these workers attract is often only just above the minimum wage and well below what could be considered a “living wage”. An average childcare worker can expect to earn $21 an hour and aged and disability care workers around $24 an hour. Care workers are taking home about $33,000 each year ᶾ .

Advertising and marketing professionals earn roughly $1346 (per week before tax). Bank workers earn roughly $1101 (per week before tax). Conversely, aged and disability carers who earn roughly $900 (per week before tax) ⁴.

We believe that these care workers in the residential care workforce should be paid to match “their value and contribution” on the front line providing high level care, supporting aging Australians.  Would you put a higher dollar value on a Registered Nurse caring for your mother in a residential aged care facility or an advertising executive designing a campaign for dentures?

We also want to address the inequality within today’s’ society directed towards women in many different areas of everyday life, and specifically, in relation to being labelled or judged. This can be as simple as not labeling a woman based on their marital status i.e. Miss, Mrs, Ms, to being judged within the workplace for simply being a woman.

Erigo reflects this International Women’s Day the residential care workforce and issues facing today's care workers

Caring roles – caring for children, the sick, the disabled and the elderly – have for the most part fallen to women and historically have largely been unpaid.

We want to take this opportunity to recognise and celebrate all the unpaid carers out there, caring for family members and friends – you are so appreciated!

Sources:

  1. Darragh O’Keeffe. Aged care wages: tackling pay in ‘the forgotten industry’ Australian Aging Agenda, February 8 2017. https://www.australianageingagenda.com.au/2017/02/08/aged-care-wages-tackling-pay-forgotten-industry/
  2. Australia’s gender equality scorecard, Key findings from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s 2017-18 reporting data, November 2018, https://www.wgea.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/WGEA_2017-18%20Gender%20Equality%20Scorecard.pdf
  3. Rebecca Cassells. Australia’s low-paid workforce a threat to wages growth, December 27, 2018. https://www.smh.com.au/national/australia-s-low-paid-workforce-a-threat-to-wages-growth-20181224-p50o4y.html
  4. Job Outlook, https://joboutlook.gov.au/