International Women's Day

'Better the balance and better the world' is the 2019 theme for International Women’s Day (IWD) being celebrated 8 March 2019. Pictured from left to right: Lyn Wiebe, Barbara Nebart, Sally McDonald.

The SDA is committed to gender equality in all aspects of employment including access to rewarding ongoing employment and career development, access to flexible working arrangements which value and accommodate family and caring responsibilities and access to equal pay and remuneration.

In 1975 the SDA took strides forward with the formation of the Women’s Bureau and appointment of the first Women’s Officer. The SDA has come a long way since the 1970’s and have achieved many improvements to entitlements that make balancing work and family easier.

In 2005 the SDA appointed it’s first female Branch Secretary, Barbara Nebart (pictured, middle) at the Newcastle and Northern Branch, coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the formation of the Women’s Committee. 

“My experiences at the Women's Bureau meetings; seeing the important work that was being done for women and the improvements that we were achieving for our members, made me realise that I was part of an organisation that was in touch with its membership and one that genuinely listened to the views of their women members and officials" - Barbara Nebart, speaking on the 30th anniversary of the formation of the Women's Commitee in 2005.

Recently the SDA has secured significant wins for women in the workplace with inclusions of paid domestic violence leave, extended paid maternity leave and parental leave in new Enterprise Agreements. These achievements are just some of many for working women, however, there is still a long way to go to achieve balance.

The SDA has recently been working hard to close the retirement gap women face:

  • 29% of women over the age of 65 years live below the poverty line
  • 90% of women have inadequate retirement savings
  • 37% of women have no personal income at the age of retirement
  • 44% women report ‘partner’s income’ as their main source of funds
  • Single women are at the greatest risk of ongoing poverty in retirement
  • Women live on average 5 years more than men

Causes of the retirement gap:

  • Gender pay gap
  • Structural differences in the employment
  • Cultural, societal and workplace norms
  • Family friendly workplaces for women and men
  • Unpaid caring responsibilities/interruptions in paid employment
  • Casual and part time work
  • Low paid work
  • Discrimination
  • Domestic violence

Whilst we have made improvements in creating better balance, the fact remains that women are disadvantaged in the workplace and beyond. Together we must continue to work together to better balance the inequalities women face. The SDA has been working tirelessly to create better balance, and has made submissions to Senate Inquiries and lobbying government. The recommendations of the SDA include:

  • Extend the Government Paid Parental Leave scheme to 26 weeks
  • Mandate super on all paid and unpaid parental leave, including govt scheme.
  • Introduce a right to flexible working arrangements
  • Ensure fair effective marginal tax rates for second-earners
  • Super on all hours worked for all employees
  • Bring forward the increase in the SG rate to 12%
  • Improve the LISTO aimed at low income earners
  • Super contributions on behalf of carers – recipients of carer’s payments or allowances, or parenting payments/FTB
  • Fairer progressive tax rates to super contributions
  • Shift super tax concessions from high income earners to low income earners
  • Options to boost women’s super and implement fairer tax arrangements to remedy the super gap during unpaid work.
  • Proper investigation and compliance of unlawful industrial practices especially non-payment of super.
  • Ensure a genuine safety net which particularly impacts on women
  • Eliminate discrimination against women


The SDA will continue to fight for equality for everyone in the workplace. Although there are many challenges, together we can create greater equality and balance for women.

Better the Balance. Better the world.

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