Snap Forward Feminist Network

COVID-19 Submission

The effects of COVID-19 are gendered and have and will continue to exacerbate existing inequalities in Australian society. The Snap Forward Feminist Network makes 10 recommendations for a more forward-facing, inclusive and resilient Australia. Our starting point is inclusion and equality for all.

The Snap Forward Feminist Policy Network (SFN) is working to ensure a gender-responsive COVID-19 recovery over the immediate and longer-term: we want a Snap Forward which also contributes to the achievement of gender equality.  

The SFN, although initially formed in response to COVID-19 and the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on women, aims to take a long-term view. It is focused on the broader opportunity presented by this global disruption to transform Australia into a more resilient, inclusive and equitable society by 2030.

This submission addresses immediate gender equality and social justice issues in the initial COVID-19 response, as well as making foundational recommendations for a longer-term economic and social recovery based on equity and inclusion, sustainability and resilience.  A summary of the recommendations is below and you can access the full submission here.



We recommend:

  1. Ensuring gender-equal and diverse representation on COVID-19 decision making bodies.
  2. Investing in data, including the ongoing funding of the Australian Bureau of Statistics Time Use Survey in 2020, and the production of an independent Annual Gender Equity Report.
  3. Mandating gender-responsive budgeting to be applied across the COVID-19 response and recovery, supported by a Treasury funded Gender Equality Budget Group and increased investment in public service capacity and accountability for gender analysis.
  4. Increasing job seeker payments on a permanent basis and ensuring that rent protection arrangements remain while COVID-19 related housing stress continues; monitoring effect of superannuation withdrawal on women’s balance. Longer term, reviewing the taxation and social security system to secure more equitable outcomes; and addressing the inequities in the superannuation system, including in relation to the paid parental leave scheme.
  5. Continuing free childcare as long as the JobKeeper program is in place; longer term, reviewing the current childcare system to position childcare as foundational to Australia’s economy.
  6. Supporting women’s diverse economic contribution, including by supporting women-led businesses and women in hospitality, arts, and culture workforces; while, longer term, focusing on protections for feminised workforces and reviewing the gendered experience of employment conditions and protections, and in parallel addressing the uneven distribution of unpaid labour and producing an Annual Gender Equity Report, inter alia, to capture the contribution of women’s unpaid labour to the Australian economy.
  7. Increasing investment in violence prevention and services, developing specific public messaging for disaster contexts, and funding of the Five Safety First Principles in Family Law, developed by Women’s Legal Services Australia.
  8. Recognising and protecting women’s health services as essential, and ensuring priority access for these services to adequate personal protective equipment, while investing in public health messaging for promoting health literacy, and protecting investment in maternity services and breastfeeding.
  9. Directing stimulus investment toward social and public housing to address chronic community shortages of homes and support for women, with priority investment in women’s specialist homelessness services and culturally-sensitive housing solutions for First Nation communities.
  10. Investing in climate-resilient stimulus which maintains current protections and focuses on: full employment; renewable industries and sustainable Australian manufacturing; research and education including in STEM for women, girls, gender diverse people; and addressing gender gaps in adaptation-related industries and sectors.

This is not an official site of the Snap Forward Feminist Network – the Submission is included here for access purposes.