NSW election lacking 'vision' on gender equality
With many women in immediate crisis, the major parties in NSW have failed to present voters with a cohesive gender equality platform, advocates say.
While some progress is being offered on domestic and family violence, both Labor and the Coalition have failed to make meaningful commitments on social housing and homelessness funding, they say.
Women's Electoral Lobby (WEL) NSW convener Mary O'Sullivan said housing insecurity and affordability was a major driver of women's inequality.
"Small steps on rental security and planning regulations on government land go no way to dealing with the crisis faced by many women, including single mothers fleeing violence," she said.
For more than 50 years, WEL has worked to hold politicians and parties to account for their election strategies.
A scorecard of the major parties in next week's NSW election produced by the group found while none failed outright, "all must do better for gender equality".
WEL Australia convenor Jozefa Sobski said the two major parties lacked the same kind of "visionary thinking" Labor brought to last year's federal election.
"There is a striking absence of visionary thinking on gender equality," she said.
"Policies which drive women's equality are scattered across policy areas.
"The Greens can be congratulated for consolidating their women's policies."
Ms O'Sullivan said the scorecard homed in on specific initiatives her organisation believes will be game changers in achieving equality and justice for women.
The Liberal and National Parties were rebuked for their "lamentable" recent record on women's political representation, having failed to field a higher proportion of female candidates.
However, the Coalition's move to draw on feminist economists in the 2022 Budget to link access to child care with options for women's workforce participation was welcomed.
Commitments from both parties to expand access to women's reproductive health services were also noted as positive.
"The Coalition lost points through failing to recognise that pay equity is essential for proper recognition of the value of health care workers including nurses," Ms O'Sullivan said.
"We are extremely disappointed that despite strong calls from advocates and sections of the media, no party dares to commit to mandate respectful relationships and consent education in the NSW curriculum."