Today we mark the contributions of Victorian women and girls to end toxic culture in the workplace and ‘Break the Bias’ to forge a path forward to gender equality.
Sadly, Victoria’s gender pay gap worsened during the COVID pandemic, increasing from 9.6 per cent in May 2020 to 12.2 per cent in May 2021, a rise of 2.6 per cent – the largest of any state in the nation.
Shadow Minister for Women Emma Kealy said International Women’s Day in 2022 came as the true toll of Labor’s shutdowns and COVID uncertainty on Victorian women was being revealed.
“Six COVID lockdowns and two years yo-yoing in and out of restrictions – many of which more heavily affected female-dominated industries – have further disrupted women’s financial, social and cultural wellbeing,” Ms Kealy said.
“Even before the pandemic, women were more likely to be employed in casual or insecure work. These sectors, like accommodation and food services, tourism and retail trade, have endured the worst of job losses and economic pain.
“Months of disrupted school learning and isolation from friends and family has been worst felt by young girls and teens, with a harrowing increase in suicides and mental health issues during the pandemic.
“And with women accounting for four in five workers in healthcare and social assistance – key professions on the COVID frontline – women wore the dual pressure of high-stress environments and constant exposure to getting sick with the virus.
“Supporting Victorian women and girls to thrive again will be crucial as Victoria recovers and rebuilds.”
More allegations today that reveal the extent of the bullying culture and toxic masculinity within the Victorian Labor Party question the government’s ability to ensure Victorian women thrive.
Resigning from the Labor Party today, Upper House MP Kaushaliya Vaghela alleged the Premier and Minister for Women Gabrielle Williams took part in a “systemic bullying campaign … by seeking to undermine, isolate and exclude” her.
Ms Kealy said the only way to change the future for Victorian women and girls is to change the government in November.
“We need the right response from government to win back the ground lost in the past two years,” Ms Kealy said.
“The Liberals and Nationals will drive better outcomes for families with a face-to-face learning guarantee that will keep our schools open and our kids in the classroom, so parents aren’t left juggling the pressures of work with the responsibility of delivering their child’s education at home.
“We’ll restore good mental health for women and girls by unlocking thousands more workers to boost capacity in the mental health workforce, cutting down waitlists so that counselling and support will be available for those who need it.
“Incentives to revive the hospitality and accommodation industries will create new jobs in these sectors that support so many women to pay the bills and put food on the table.
“Only a change in government in November will lead Victoria to recover and rebuild.”