By CATHERINE DEVENY
Awesome news for feminism, childcare workers, kids, parents and single older homeless women sleeping in cars.
After a passionate and determined United Voice campaign Big Steps, Australia’s childcare professionals have received a substantial raise.
*sound effect of the whole nation exhaling as they say ‘about bloody time!’*
To be more concise our childcare professionals are finally getting the long overdue correction they deserve. And with it comes respect and recognition for some of our most loved and lowest paid workers.
It will also contribute to a high quality and skilled childcare sector.
And, strap yourself in, guess what? It will not cost parents or centres a cent thanks to the Gillard government.
I know! This is the gift that keeps on giving.
But wait, there’s more. This pay increase will lead to women no longer leaving a job they love in droves because they can’t live on the low wage previously paid to childcare professionals. (Which is a bonus for kids and parents because no one likes dropping their little munchkins off to an educator they don’t know.) This cash catch up will help stop the turnover of passionate, dedicated and talented staff.
This victory will have further reaching benefits that may surprise you. It will lower the amount of domestic violence, mental illness and older homeless women sleeping in cars.
Let me explain.
Childcare, like most of the professions that are female dominated, has been underpaid and under recognized for… well since babies were invented.
Make no bones about it. This is a feminist issue.
They are less likely to get employed as they age and if they do they will earn less money and perform a much higher percentage of unpaid domestic labor and caring.
If current earning patterns continue, the average 25-year-old male starting work today will earn $2.4 million over the next 40 years while the average 25-year-old female will earn $1.5 million. Over a life-time of working, a woman will earn almost one million dollars less than a man.”
In other words, there is a $1 million penalty for being a woman in Australia today.
(That’s according to AMP/NATSEM Income and Wealth Report, Issue 22, She works hard for the money: Australian women and the gender divide)