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3 September 2020
The Working Women’s Centre SA said today that COVID recovery stimulus measures need to go to feminised sectors if we are serious about economic recovery. Young women have been hit hard by COVID-related unemployment and underemployment, and investment in sectors which employ more women is the best thing we can do to address the economic crisis in the wake of COVID.
SA Premier Steven Marshall said this week that there will be new economic stimulus measures over the coming months, but has not yet specified which sectors the measures will be targeted at. Traditional economic stimulus measures focus on job-creation in male-dominated sectors through infrastructure and construction projects. But in this recession, young women are the ones who have been hit hardest by loss of work. Investment in sectors like social care and education would create at least twice as many jobs as the same investment in construction, and a far higher percentage of those jobs would go to women.
Abbey Kendall, Director of the Working Women’s Centre SA, said “We have had countless women come to our Centre seeking assistance after losing work due to COVID, often in unfair and discriminatory circumstances. When you look at the percentage of young women who are unemployed or underemployed currently, it’s far higher than that of any other age or gender demographic. This is because many of the sectors that have suffered, like tourism, hospitality and retail, are sectors with a majority-female workforce. Young women are also likely to work in casual jobs, and many have lost their job and been unable to access JobKeeper.”
“Many of the women that have continued working throughout the crisis have been workers on the frontlines: our health workers, our aged care workers, our teachers. Working women have been put under considerable strain during COVID. We need to show that we value the work that women do by investing in feminised sectors.”
“Economic stimulus that would create jobs for women could look like investment in mental health, in the arts, education, in environmental projects or programs to support international students. Stimulus measures that employ women are good for the community, and good for economy. We need to ensure that we are thinking about social infrastructure. All the research is telling us that government spending in health, education and care will create many more jobs than construction. Social infrastructure has to be a priority.”
“Where we invest in infrastructure, when we build social housing, roads, bridges, community centres, we have to make sure women are getting jobs on these construction sites. We need targets around female apprenticeships, so that we move all of these young women who have lost their jobs in hospitality, retail, tourism and accommodation into secure and valuable work. ”
Media contact: Maddie Sarre, firstname.lastname@example.org