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Policy that supports women to thrive improves social cohesion and makes good economic sense

Good Shepherd presented the second Good Conversation forum, Economic Frameworks and women’s human rights on 28 June 2017. One of the biggest policy challenges for Australia is the recognition of domestic labour and its contribution to social cohesion and wellbeing. Domestic work, chiefly done by women, is not considered as productive work or economic participation. Women have made gains in the areas of education and employment opportunity. However, there are still very few women in senior positions (ASX boards) and the sectors with the lowest paid workers are dominated by women. Analysis of the underlining assumptions that determine economic policy as well as an understanding of the impacts of those assumptions on women is needed.

The ‘wellbeing framework’ introduced by Department of Treasury secretaries Ken Henry and Martin Parkinson looked beyond managing the economy to environmental and social sustainability. It provided an important framework for bodies such as the Productivity Commission and the ABS to consider and assess the contribution of domestic work in economic terms. The framework was abandoned in in 2016 in the Treasury’s four year Corporate Plan by the current secretary John Fraser. Download article.

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