YWCA Australia commends the National Strategy for Gender Equality but calls for action on housing

YWCA Australia commends the Albanese Government on the release of Working for Women: A Strategy for Gender Equality; an important step towards a more gender equal Australia.

Michelle Phillips, CEO YWCA Australia welcomed the release and acknowledged the significance of Australia’s first ever strategy for gender equality.

“We are pleased to see that the Strategy provides guidance to embed gender equality in government policies and practices, adopts a data-driven approach, prioritises lived experiences, and delivers a framework for gender responsive budgeting across government”, says Ms Phillips.

“However, in the spirit of 2024’s International Women’s Day theme – Invest in Women – we call on the Government to prioritise housing security for women and gender diverse people.”

For a truly gender equal Australia, YWCA believes we must ensure housing for all. There is a critical link between housing security and gender equality, with unique challenges faced by women and gender diverse people.

“The Strategy’s focus on economic security and violence prevention is critical, but a comprehensive approach must also include tangible steps to create pathways for women and gender-diverse people to access safe, secure, and affordable housing. Secure housing is fundamental to achieving gender equality across all aspects of life”, Ms Phillips stated.

“Also key to the Strategy’s success is responding to the systemic barriers faced by women and gender diverse people that lead to increased housing insecurity and homelessness. When women and gender diverse people have a safe, secure, and affordable home, it provides a stable foundation to thrive in all aspects of life.”

YWCA Australia is pleased to see access to homelessness services and secure long-term housing listed as an outcome in the Strategy, but call for further action, including:

  • A gender impact analysis on the soon to be released National Housing and Homelessness Plan.
  • An increase in dedicated allocations for women and gender diverse people in new social and affordable housing builds now and into the future.
  • Increased investment in the community housing sector, including specialist providers, as a key player in increasing affordable housing supply.  
  • Uplifted funding for specialist homelessness and domestic violence services as part of the upcoming National Housing and Homelessness Agreement.
  • Dedicated funding for gender-responsive housing and homelessness supports, including sustaining tenancies.

YWCA Australia remains committed to working with the Government to ensure the Strategy’s effective implementation, particularly regarding securing outcomes in improved access to homelessness services and more affordable long-term housing.

We believe a truly gender-equal Australia requires housing security for all, and we urge ongoing investment in initiatives that address this critical need.

YWCA Australia wishes to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the lands on which we work, live and play and pay our respects to Elders past and present. We recognise First Nations people as the custodians of the lands, seas and skies, with more than 60,000 years of wisdom, connection and relationship in caring for Country.

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