Closing the gaps for women in the workforce: An exciting new initiative

27 August 2019

Closing the gaps for women in the workforce: An exciting new initiative

A new mentoring initiative run by CoAct through their local employment services providers CHESS Connect, Uniting, and Workways Australia will support disadvantaged young women in the NSW North Coast region with identified barriers to employment.

Helping women close the employment gap

The Empowering Women in Business program will focus on supporting women in an effort to create more employment opportunities for them. CoAct’s National Employment Services Manager, Melissa Gleeson, said that the gaps between men and women who are working part-time, are underemployed or unemployed are hard to ignore.

The ABS reported that in 2017–18, 44% of employed women worked part-time, compared to 16% of employed men. This figure is even wider for parents with a child under six, with three in five employed mothers (61%) working part-time compared to less than one in ten employed fathers (7.9%).

For parents with a child under six, the unemployment rate for mothers aged 20–74 years old (5.2%) is about double the unemployment rate of fathers (2.4%). For people aged 30–34 years old, women (25%) were about three times more likely than men (7.4%) to be out of the labour force.


The ABS report also found that women are more likely to be underemployed than men (9.4% vs 5.8%).

It’s clear that women want to work – these are people in jobs who are available and wanting more hours of work than they currently have

Melissa Gleeson

Everyone needs to start somewhere

Many young women have challenges accessing role models to help them set the right foundations for a sustainable future in the workforce. Ms Gleeson said the structured 12-week program would help young women feel more confident in navigating their career options and life in general, as well as helping them to achieve a variety of goals in a supportive and encouraging environment.

Giving back to building a stronger community

Ms Gleeson believes that mentors will learn some things along the way throughout the program, too. With no obligation for the mentors to hire the mentee, both parties can focus solely on the program without the pressure of employment as the end goal.

Seeking mentors

Empowering Women in Business launched 1st July and program organisers are seeking women in business to participate as mentors. Register here



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