Women’s politics: Anderl complains of decline

On the occasion of the upcoming Women’s Day, Renate Anderl, President of the Labor Chamber, laments the setbacks in women’s policy.

There has been no progress on the distribution of unpaid work, child care and income distribution. “We urgently need a women’s policy worthy of the name,” Anderl said at a press conference on Monday, calling for measures such as expansion of childcare, transparency in wages and a qualification drive.

Anderl: “Women still do most of the unpaid work”

“Women continue to do most of the unpaid work, raise children and care for relatives,” the EC’s boss said. She criticized that after many struggles that brought with them many successes, women’s policy in Austria was now leading a “shadowy existence” again. The EC boss said it was “not witchcraft or rocket science” and called on Women’s Minister Susanne Raab (ÖVP) to take faster action.

Regarding time use, the unequal distribution of unpaid care work begins in childhood, with girls taking on 23 minutes more care work per day than boys, said Eva-Maria Burger, head of AK Vienna’s women and family department. Study conducted by Statistics Austria. Preliminary assessments of EC reentry monitoring will also confirm that in eight out of ten couples, only the mother continues maternity leave.

Father involvement is constantly decreasing

Although the rate of return to work for women who were predominantly employed before birth has improved markedly in recent years by the child’s second birthday, at the same time fathers’ participation continued to decline, increasing until 2017. While 15,095 men received child care assistance in 2017, in 2021 this number was only 11,718.

In addition, fathers can also go on maternity leave for a very short period of time. Most last only two months. Only three percent of men stay with the children for longer than three months; Between three and six months, the figure is two percent. Only one percent of fathers go on maternity leave for more than six months.

To improve the situation, Labor is calling for the $4.5 billion the federal government has promised to expand child care to reach communities and families quickly. Anderl once again spoke in favor of a legal right to a childcare place from the child’s first birthday, working hours that allow for full-time employment, and a push for primary and further education.

Expanding care services will relieve women

In order to distribute unpaid care labor more equitably among families, the minimum share of child care allowance for fathers should be higher. In addition, ensuring a fair distribution within the family should be supported financially. If both parents increase or decrease their working hours to 28 to 32 hours per week for at least four months after maternity leave, a fixed wage of 250 euros per month per parent must be paid until the child’s 4th birthday at most.

In order to close the existing gender pay gap, the Labor Chamber continues to press for the implementation of the EU directive on pay transparency. Expanding care services would ease the burden on women who still automatically care for their relatives. Anderl said the nursing profession should be made more attractive with better wages and conditions.

On Monday, he received support for his demands from the SPÖ and the union. “Women’s policy must finally get back on the fast track,” SPÖ women’s leader Eva-Maria Holzleitner said in a press release, while also speaking in favor of shared maternity leave for both parents, free all-day child education, which is a legal right. Higher wages and better working conditions in nursing, as well as the fulfillment and rapid implementation of the EU wage transparency directive.

ÖGB women accused the government of inaction. Deputy ÖGB said, “There are concepts on the table regarding child care that are compatible with the business and family-friendly working time model. One wonders why the federal government has not finally implemented our concepts and eased the burden on women in our country.” President and Women’s Branch President Korinna Schumann, according to the publication. She also called for the breakdown of role models because “even in families where women do more paid work than men, women do the majority of unpaid work.”


Source: Vienna


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