Gap in unpaid work
Women picking up the housework, childcare slack
UNPAID work done by Victorian women is worth more than $205 billion to the state economy each year, a new report has found.
Women do 1.7 times more unpaid work than men, which accounts for 63 per cent of the total amount of unpaid labour around Victoria, early results from a Deloitte Access Economics study show.
The study, commissioned by the state government, says such work is equal to half the state’s gross state product in 2017-18.
It follows a national PricewaterhouseCoopers study, that found such work included volunteering, childcare, caring for adults and domestic labour.
The top locations for unpaid work per capita in Victoria are Point Cook, Carlton North, Melbourne CBD, Southbank and Brunswick East.
The PwC study found men do almost twice as much paid work as women.
Minister for Women Natalie Hutchins said the burden of unpaid work and time out of the workplace to care for children were two of the main drivers of the gender pay gap, which sees women earn $244 a week less than men.
“Putting a dollar figure on unpaid domestic and care work means we can actually value it,” Ms Hutchins said. “When we value unpaid work, it’s more likely we’ll share it.
“Until we have gender balance with unpaid work we won’t close the pay gap between men and women.”
Prue Gilbert, chief executive of the Grace Papers — an organisation helping workplaces juggle work and family more equally — said the research confirmed the experi- ences of many families who “share the unpaid labour equally until the arrival of their first baby”.
Ms Gilbert said women also take the majority of parental leave — both paid and unpaid — and are paid less than their male partners.
“Most couples make decisions about career and care based on their financial situation, rather than exploring the potential for both to work and share the care and domestic duties,” she said.
Brooke Ryan, 38, has been on maternity leave from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning since the birth of her baby, Oliver, six months.
“When I am at home, of course I am the one looking after the baby and doing the majority of the domestic tasks,” she said.
Ms Ryan is going back to work part-time in February and her husband, Blake, will look after OIiver one day a week. “Once I’m back at work it will be more important to share tasks,” she said.
The full report from Deloitte will be available later this year.
Brooke Ryan is on maternity leave and doing lots of unpaid work caring for baby Oliver, six months, along with housework.