Federal Budget week invariably results in a myriad of commentary about the focus of the budget and its winners and losers. And there are valid criticisms of any budget: it’s the ultimate financial balancing act and not every aspect of the economy can be prioritized every year.
The only real constant is the bleating from feminists.
This year, the sisterhood handed its soapbox-of-whine to business owner Shivani Gopal from whence she complained (via the Nine Entertainment papers) that only $240m in the budget was set aside for women, and that amount, across six million-plus working women, equated to just $40 per woman.
Progressives attempting mathematics is perilous at the best of times, but particularly when they can’t even define ‘women’. Anyway, this laborious attempt at numerical ingenuity was in effect the following equation: add money, divide by victimhood, to equal guilt.
Unfortunately, Ms Gopal glossed over the generous spending measures in the budget as if there was little else meaningful for women. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Bankwest Curtin Economic Centre has found that 73.5% of people will gain from the budget. Income tax cuts will benefit women in the workforce; in fact, 40% or $5.1 billion worth of tax cuts this year will go to women. Business incentives will benefit women in business. And single parents, who are overwhelmingly women, will receive an almost $2800 average increase this year.
So, why don’t these benefits gain a proper mention? Why do budget measures have to be labelled as ‘Pussy Perks’ for them to cut the mustard with the sisterhood? Put simply, there is no objective reason. They have long run out of real battles to fight, so they are relegated to creating issues out of the ether.
Of course, childcare is always trotted out as not receiving enough funding. That’s a hard position to defend when $10.3 billion in this budget is dedicated to childcare. And if that isn’t enough, how much is enough? $20 billion? $30 billion? The sad reality is the government could pony up with $50 billion, a year’s supply of unwooded chardonnay and unlimited yoga classes and the sisterhood still wouldn’t be happy. They have no intention of being happy. Their relevance is directly correlative to how much angst they can create.
But the most eyeroll inducing of Ms Gopal’s comments was the criticism she spared for the $1.2 billion provision made for apprenticeships, which were ‘male-dominated roles’.
For starters, there are traditionally female trades such as hair and beauty, where apprenticeships are commonplace. And for years, women have been told they don’t have to conform to gender stereotypes and can take up trades. Wouldn’t it be brilliant if, on the back of the government’s apprenticeship program, more women went into trades to upskill away from low skilled–low paid jobs? You would think so. But instead of looking at the opportunities in this for women, Ms Gopal seeks to enforce antiquated gender stereotypes as a way of engendering a sense of victimhood.
It’s actually terribly unkind.
All that said, most women are pretty switched on and vote with their brains, not their lady parts. I’m confident they can run a ruler over this budget without letting gender insecurities get the better of them. Women are smarter than that.
Just ask Hillary Clinton.
Caroline Di Russo is a lawyer, businesswomen and unrepentant nerd.
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