Tonic Board Member leading the way for gender equity

by | What We're Talking About

Sam Mostyn AO has been a Tonic Media Network Board Member since 2021 and has long advocated for gender equality. Coming out of the harsh period of the pandemic she has highlighted publicly that women in the care and health sectors have been underpaid and under-valued despite the vital work they do.   

Ms Mostyn is an Australian businesswoman, climate change and gender equity advocate, and Chair of the Commonwealth’s newly formed Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce.   

The Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce features 13 eminent women from wide-ranging backgrounds and provides independent advice to the Federal Government on a broad range of issues facing women in Australia, including to inform the development of a National Strategy to Achieve Gender Equality due in early 2023. The Taskforce’s key focus areas include the gender pay gap, barriers to workforce participation and distribution of caring responsibilities.   

“In looking at how best to support gender equality, and to increase and respect women’s participation in the economy, the Taskforce will pay particular attention to areas where women are most disadvantaged,” Ms Mostyn said.   

“In Australia, 87% of nurses and midwives are women, as well as 70% of carers. We have one of the most gendered segregated and segmented workforces in the world.

“As a nation, we’ve accepted that women participate in low-paid caring roles, while men are in higher-paid career-driven roles in industries with financial security- where there are more hours available, more income, more superannuation and more career benefits,” Ms Mostyn has told the Sydney Morning Herald.   

“When men enter a sector that’s underpaid, that’s how you get to change rapidly. Men will not put up with low wages. Wage increases come as a natural consequence of the presence of higher numbers of men. As we have seen in recent focus from the Federal Government, women are often stuck in highly feminised industries, with low wages, and poor financial security over their lives,“ Ms Mostyn highlighted at a recent Tonic Media Network staff event.  

“The Fair Work Commission is now going to have panels of gender experts who will advise on minimum wages and conditions. This will be a first, recognising that there has been a failure to properly value the work of those in highly feminised industries,” Ms Mostyn added.  

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in a recent speech to parliament said that female-dominated industries were not only the lowest paid. “They’re also the sections of the workforce that got Australia through the pandemic, that we relied upon, that we should never, ever take for granted.”    

Ms Mostyn also shared some of the fantastic progress of the Taskforce with Tonic staff.   

“We have already had a win. We were strongly recommending that parental leave be increased to 26 weeks which was just announced by the Prime Minister,” Ms Mostyn said.   

Ms Mostyn has also been advising the NSW Government as Chair of the NSW Women’s Economic Opportunities Review.    

“Affordable childcare is a massive barrier to getting women back into the workforce.”   

“As part of our recommendation, the NSW government has promised to drive down childcare costs and increase the number of places by spending $5 billion on the sector over the next 10 years,” Ms Mostyn added.