The Greens are launching gender-sensitive support for women-led businesses, after announcing a new policy that will seek to generate more jobs and better economic opportunities.
The policy will focus on growing women-led and women-founded businesses, especially in regional areas, by establishing a $10 million micro-finance facility and legislating procurement budgets.
“Women deserve support to harness their creative and innovative potential, and microfinance loans fit the bill,” said Deputy Leader of the Greens, Senator Larissa Waters.
Research has shown that women-run, owned, and managed businesses employ, on average, six times as many women as other businesses, and typically have strong parental leave and flexible work arrangements.
But these businesses, especially in regional areas, often struggle to obtain finance, with less access to capital due to geographic isolation, and often face discriminatory attitudes from lenders, despite the quality of staff or the quality of their product or service.
“It was eight dark years for women under this 1950s government, made worse by the pandemic that women suffered. Policies like this can really help,” Waters says.
This new policy, endorsed by Femeconomy and Rural Woman, will include a micro-finance program to provide low-interest, interest-free loans of up to $10,000 to women-led businesses in regional areas that have difficulty in accessing traditional financing.
“Our research identified that for women-led businesses in rural areas, a loan of $10,000 or less would help them make significant progress either in starting a business or in expanding – whether it is it’s about being able to hire an extra person, buy storage or launch marketing campaigns,” says The Rural Woman CEO Rebel Black.
The Greens will also legislate to require government agencies to spend at least 3% of their annual procurement budget on women-led businesses, which currently access less than 1% of the global procurement market, although ‘they make up 34.8% of Australian businesses. .
“We have seen the success of the gender equality procurement policies in the US and the Indigenous procurement policy in Australia. These policies will grow the Australian economy and advance equality,” said Femeconomy Director Alanna Bastin-Byrne.
With this new policy in place to help women-led businesses get off the ground, it will reduce the structural inequalities that have hindered women’s economic independence for generations and play a bigger role in closing the gender pay gap. the sexes.
“Women-owned businesses represent women from all walks of life, enabling women to utilize their education, skills and training, and develop flexible work models around family responsibilities. Practical policies that support these businesses are key to closing the gender pay gap,” says Bastin-Byrne.
“It’s not a zero-sum game – when more women work, economies grow.”