(Image: AAP/James Gourley)

The emerging criticism of the government's failure to do anything for female employment -- and especially women over 35 -- in the budget reflects a bigger problem across the political end of the economic debate: we still have a very old-fashioned view of what the Australian economy is.

Yesterday the Grattan Institute, led by Danielle Wood, said the government "seems to think economic stimulus is all about hi-vis vests and hard hats. It’s a narrow and dated view of the world of work ... The three sectors with the most targeted support are all bloke-heavy: construction ... energy ... and manufacturing (A$3 billion)."

A pithy graph summed up where the government's support had flowed -- in contrast to where it was needed.