The biggest barrier to women finding a job or extra working hours is their caring responsibilities. Women in their prime working age take on multiple roles, including paid and unpaid work, and voluntary work. Australia must value the unpaid work of caring, predominantly done by women.
Work and family measures need to provide different forms of flexibility to people whether they are caring for children, other family members or their ageing parents. The Government has created an Office of Work and Family within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (http://www.pmc.gov.au) to ensure that the formulation of policies to get the balance right between work and family life takes place at the highest level and is central to all policy decisions.
The Office of Work and Family is working with relevant departments to ensure the Government's policies support families to effectively balance their work and family responsibilities. In particular, it is supporting the Government's new directions for child care and early childhood education and the COAG early childhood agenda, including for Indigenous Australians. The Office will also produce an annual State of the Family Report and is improving the process for consideration of family impacts in cabinet submissions.
The Office for Women works with the Office of Work and Family to ensure the particular needs of working women are appropriately considered and incorporated into the Government's broader work and family agenda.