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While economic stimulus has traditionally focused on large-scale physical infrastructure projects (which largely employ men), new research shows that there are more employment-intensive and gender equitable forms of stimulus.

For example, a study of seven OECD countries shows that public investment equal to 1% of GDP in labour-intensive care industries generates more total employment than investment in construction. If applied to the Australian market, it is estimated that this employment ratio would be nearly five to one.

This is not to suggest that stimulus should not be made in construction; only that government should take a more balanced approach to fiscal policy, Hill said.

She argued that greater investment in ECEC is a “triple-win” strategy that will:

  • generate billions of dollars in national wealth and boost GDP while supporting women’s employment;
  • increase demand for the sector’s services, creating more jobs;
  • allow for universal access, promoting all children’s education, wellbeing and life chances.

“They must be supported by two further measures: women’s inclusion in recovery planning leadership, and gendered employment analyses of all recovery policy options, including the impact of policy on unpaid work.

“Unpaid work must be included given its massive contribution to economic growth and productivity. Failure to do so will distort policy making.”

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