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Wednesday, 29 June 1994
Page: 2325

Senator CROWLEY (Minister for Family Services) (4.56 p.m.) —All of those. Just as the Treasurer's announcements yesterday will go a long way to changing superannuation funds' attitudes about women as recipients of superannuation, so we will also be looking at the change in women themselves. I do not know how long it is since the older women's network had a discussion with Senator Kernot, but certainly many of the women I meet from the older women's network are at pains to point out to me that they want to remain active, participating and contributing in a whole variety of ways as they grow older.

Senator Kernot —That does not mean paid work.

Senator CROWLEY —Certainly it is not restricted to paid work, but it is not denying paid work, which is one of the things they want a whole lot of. They want the opportunity to study and the time to go to work. Another report that might interest Senator Kernot is one that was done by the YWCA, which I launched for that organisation in South Australia a few years ago. That was a report addressing the stress of grandmothers, who at last had got themselves an opportunity to be in the work force and were stressed at the pressure put on them, particularly by their sons and daughters, to please come home and look after the children.

Senator Kernot —Why is that?

Senator CROWLEY —The interesting thing is that these grandmothers, these older women, were actually enjoying enormously their first opportunity in the work force. We are talking about whether or not women actually want to be participating in the work force. I am just giving honourable senators some evidence that might assist them in knowing that this is not just a wanton, arbitrary, remiss change. It is actually reflecting a change that is going on. I can assure the committee that a couple of examples indicate that older women participating in the work force often, after a long period out of the work force looking after their own children, are very pleased to be there and to stay there.