Tasmanian early childhood educator Ali Walker says the only downside to her job is the poor pay.
Ms Walker said she took a day’s annual leave to join a union rally in Hobart on Wednesday afternoon to fight for equal pay.
“I would rather be at work but it is important to support the profession, and our children, and make this an election issue,” Ms Walker said.
“The federal government needs to listen and to fund early years education for everyone.
“There is so much research that shows how important the early years are for a child’s brain development.”
Ms Walker, who has a university teaching degree, said she was employed as a lead educator at a small child care centre and was paid $26.75 an hour with some of her colleagues earning $23 an hour.
She said there was no paid maternity leave and she could not afford to have a second child.
“I have a wonderful job, I love it and it is a great job and the only downside is the pay rate,” she said.
“It is very difficult and we joke at work about which bills we have to pay and which we can leave until later.
“Working with children all day is exhausting but I love what I do.”
United Voice Tasmanian secretary Jannette Armstrong said about 200 early childhood educators walked off the job in the state as part of a national campaign to fight for equal pay and hold political rallies.
“About 11 child care centres shut down and others stayed open,” Ms Armstrong said.
It is the fourth walk off by early childhood educators in 18 months.