by FIONA SUGDEN
My fellow feminists, I fear we made a mistake.
We assumed the days of the 1950s were over and that having a baby didn’t mean you had to say goodbye to your career. We assumed that we could make the choice to have a career and have children and share the workload of raising our children with our partners.
We were on track on for a while there. With the cheer leadings of “Lean In” and “You can have it all” the productivity rate of Australian women in the workplace has been rising for years.
Enter the draft report of the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Early Learning.
Haven’t heard of it before? Well the quick summary is this inquiry will result in an historic opportunity for the federal government to make the biggest changes to the childcare system we have seen in decades.
Last week the first draft was released and it recommended cutting the childcare rebate for families with a household income of more than $160,000 a year.
The childcare rebate is a productivity measure designed to encourage primarily women back into the workforce after having a child. It is universal, in that every family can access up to $7500 a year per child as a reimbursement for their childcare costs. Low income families can rightly access more.
The marvellous thing about this policy is that is has given many Australian women a choice. An empowering choice to be able to pursue a paid career and have a family if that is what they would like to do.
It’s a choice that means if you’d prefer to work in the home and look after your children full time you can take that path. It’s a choice that means if you would like to combine both work and child rearing you can make that happen.