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How five words set NSW on the path to spend billions on women’s inequality, but is the government too late?

When prominent businesswoman Sam Mostyn walked to the podium at the National Press Club in Canberra last year, few who followed NSW politics could have anticipated the impact it would have on policy in this state.

She declared “we need wholesale immediate change” to increase female workforce participation and ensure respect for women overall.

The date was November 24 and the freshly minted Treasurer Matt Kean was watching her speech on television from his office in Sydney and afterwards decided to call her.

Treasurer Matt Kean contacted Ms Mostyn after her speech at the National Press Club.(AAP: Mick Tsikas)

It set off a chain of events, that led to about $12 billion being committed in funding in the lead-up to Tuesday’s budget directly targeting female inequality.

The funding addresses three areas: economic opportunities, safety and health.

The biggest spend by far—more than $10 billion—has been on improving affordability and accessibility of child care, and an overhaul of the preschool system, with the aim of making it more financially viable for women to get back in the workforce.

The government wanted to ensure its plans did not go unnoticed, with the week leading up to the budget almost exclusively devoted to women’s announcements.

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