Gender Equality in Australia – Equality Rights Alliance (2022)

Gender inequality continues to be a major barrier to the realisation of rights and access to opportunities for girls and women in Australia. The unequal status of women and girls in Australia is underlined by structural and systemic gendered inequalities. Gender inequality interacts with other systems of power and inequality resulting in multiple and intersecting experiences of inequality and disadvantage for marginalised women.

Feminist movements are critical drivers of social transformation for equality.

Housing

“Housing is often portrayed as a neutral system, mere ‘bricks and mortar’, that does not preference any one gender. It is assumed that housing policy and urban planning serves the needs of the whole society or community equally, and that the distribution of housing resources serves the needs of the whole family equally… Housing systems and opportunities are embedded within structured and institutionalised relations of power which are gendered. ”
Patricia Kennet and Kam Wah Chan

Access to and rights over housing are shaped by gender. Women’s experiences of economic inequality, including but not limited to the over-representation of women in key poverty indictors and the gender wealth, income and retirement gaps, combine with an increasingly unaffordable housing market to undermine the position of women in housing systems. Compounding this is the impact of violence, specifically domestic and family violence, on women’s experiences of housing. Issues relating to economic inequality, violence and unequal distribution of caring responsibilities represent a set of challenges specific to gender which reveal both the gendered dimensions of housing stress and homelessness and the need for solutions which are gender responsive.

What the data tell us about women and housing:

And there are gender gaps in the data.

As a result of these challenges, patterns of housing assistance use are gendered.

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What’s needed?

Housing affordability and homelessness policies must recognise that housing is, first and foremost, a human right. Policy responses to housing affordability must recognise the role of housing in meeting the safety, participation, health and wellbeing needs of women and advancing gender equality.

There needs to be recognition that housing assistance and an adequate income support system are critical for women’s access to housing. Governments must support and fund a diversity of housing assistance measures.

Large-scale investment in affordable housing supply that meets the needs of women in design, location, and affordability is urgently needed.

Detail on our housing recommendations is elaborated in our policy papers and submissions which can be found in the publications sections.

Young Women’s Advisory Group (YWAG)

“As our name and feminist agenda suggest, we promote the role that young women play to address gender inequalities, from women’s leadership to gender-based violence.”
Sienna Aguilar, former YWAG Member

ERA’s Young Women’s Advisory Group (YWAG) is a space within ERA to foster young women’s activism and leadership on gender equality issues to ensure young women’s voices and perspectives are incorporated into ERA’s work and advocacy while cultivating intergenerational feminist dialogue. YWAG values young women’s voices, experiences and expertise and works towards meaningful and genuine representation, participation and engagement of young women.

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YWAGis made up of ten young women (aged 30 and under) from across Australia, working collectively to bring young women’s perspectives and views to ERA’s advocacy and driving research and advocacy projects relevant to the lives of young women.

YWAG’s main focus is on strengthening sex education in Australia through the project: Let’s Talk: Young Women’s Views on Sex Education.Let’s Talkcaptures and amplifies the voices and experiences of young womenin relation to sex education in order toimprove comprehensive sexuality and respectful relationships education in the national curriculum.You canfind YWAG’s Let’s Talk report hereandhere.

YWAG has regular input into ERA’s advocacy and policy positions, participates in our policy work groups, and develops papers for ERA’s projects. YWAG also contributes to other youth and gender-oriented projects. YWAG is powered by young women working in a voluntary capacity. It’s an excellent opportunity for young women to access training and experience in women’s policy, advocacy and collective organising.

YWAG Herstory

YWAG began in 2010 with previous work including the curation of the feminist blogging siteSettle Petaland acampaign to promote positivity around body image for young women.

International Engagement

“Civil society organisations are key players for holding governments to account, and to ensure their role as duty-bearers for the fulfilment of human rights. At the same time, CSOs empower societies and people to claim their rights as rights-holders.”
Emelie Aho, Shrinking Space for Civil Society –Challenges in Implementing the 2030 Agenda

Equality Rights Alliance works with our sisterNational Women’s Alliancesto support the women’s sector in Australia to effectively engage in international human rights processes. We do this by building women’s sector capacity and knowledge in human rights processes and instruments through resources and events and coordinating sector participation and engagement in these processes.

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Our areas of focus are:

What is the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)?

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the chief policy making body on women’s rights and gender equality at the United Nations. CSW operates as a functional commission of the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), meaning CSW is charged with promoting and monitoring women’s rights around the world.

CSW is held over approximately two weeks at the United Nations Headquarters in New York every year in March. The principle output of CSW is the Agreed Conclusions, international soft law commitments for member states (governments)to implement.

These Agreed Conclusions are reached through weeks of negotiations both in the lead up to and at CSW. These negotiations take place among government delegations of the 193 member states of the United Nations. There is limited space for civil society in the negotiation room itself, though some countries include civil society representatives on their government delegations, such as Australia.

Civil Society is actively engaged in CSW through theNGO CSWparallel events and direct advocacy at the UN.

Mind the GAPP (Gender Aware Policies and Processes)

“The Commission…urges Governments…to take the following actions:

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Reiterate the need for gender mainstreaming, including targeted actions and investments in the formulation and implementation of all financial, economic, environmental and social policies, and adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation and transformative actions for the promotion of gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment at all levels.”
CSW60 Agreed Conclusions

Mind the GAPP (Gender Aware Policies and Procedures) is ERA’s project to advocate for robust gender policy machinery at the Federal Government level. By gender policy machinery, we mean processes incorporated into policy development which both raise awareness of and respond to the differential impacts of all policies across genders. Critical to this is an acknowledgment that every area of policy is an opportunity to advance gender equality.

Current government policy development processes and systems do not adequately account for gender and women’s experiences and indeed male or masculinist bias in the policy process is left unattended. In the past, the Federal Government has had stronger gender analysis within Government. Over recent decades, these practices have diminished.

So, what does a strong gender policy machinery look like in practice?

What’s needed?

ERA is joining with our sister National Women’s Alliances in advocating for a National Gender Equality Plan. A National Plan would bring together component initiatives and policies addressing gender equality issues and mainstream a gender perspective across all policies. A National Gender Equality Plan must be intersectional, reflecting the multiple and intersecting inequalities that determine a diversity of women’s social locations and experiences.

Such a Plan would provide both the gender infrastructure needed to underpin and guide gender equality policies and initiatives, and, critically, the priority needed to ensures attention to gender equality endures the boom and bust levels of attention.

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FAQs

Does Australia have good gender equality? ›

In 2017, Australia was ranked 35th on a global index measuring gender equality, slipping from a high point of 15th in 2006.

What is the Australian government doing about gender equality? ›

Australia has committed $65 million for global and regional gender equality initiatives in 2022-23. This complements our country-specific gender equality initiatives and the estimated $1.5 billion in ODA that contributes towards gender equality.

What are some good questions about gender equality? ›

Frequently asked questions about gender equality
  • What is the difference between gender equity, gender equality and women's empowerment? ...
  • Why is it important to take gender concerns into account in programme design and implementation? ...
  • What is gender mainstreaming? ...
  • Why is gender equality important?

How can we solve the gender equality? ›

Learn more about us.
  1. Talk to women and girls. ...
  2. Let girls use mobile phones. ...
  3. Stop child marriage and sexual harassment. ...
  4. Make education gender sensitive. ...
  5. Raise aspirations of girls and their parents. ...
  6. Empower mothers. ...
  7. Give proper value to 'women's work' ...
  8. Get women into power.

Why is gender equality important in Australia? ›

Women experience inequality in many areas of their lives. At work, women face a gender 'pay gap' and barriers to leadership roles. Many encounter reduced employment opportunities because of the time they give to family and caring responsibilities.

What causes gender inequality in Australia? ›

According to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, the pay gap is influenced by recruitment discrimination, conscious and unconscious bias, female-dominated industries attracting lower wages, and women experiencing more disruptions to their careers which can limit progression opportunities.

How does gender inequality affect Australia? ›

Gender inequality interacts with other systems of power and inequality resulting in multiple and intersecting experiences of inequality and disadvantage for marginalised women. 1 in 3 women in Australia has experienced violence since the age of 15. 1 in 3 women have been sexually harassed since the age of 15.

What is gender equality and why is it important? ›

Gender equality prevents violence against women and girls. It's essential for economic prosperity. Societies that value women and men as equal are safer and healthier. Gender equality is a human right.

How does gender equality affect society? ›

Gender equality makes our communities safer and healthier

Unequal societies are less cohesive. They have higher rates of anti-social behaviour and violence. Countries with greater gender equality are more connected. Their people are healthier and have better wellbeing.

What are the advantages of gender equality? ›

Gender equality fosters peace

Improving equality for girls and women can reduce the amount of violence and provide security for those who are vulnerable. Research also shows that gender equality is a better indicator of a country's likelihood to deploy military force than its GDP.

What is an example of gender equity? ›

Example 1: Gender Equity at Home

One way parents can practice gender equity in the home is by assigning chores to their children of all genders equally to teach them domestic responsibilities, with the goal of preparing them to take care of their future homes as adults.

Can gender equality be achieved? ›

Most of the time, women and girls are at no inherent disadvantage due to a lack of ability that warrants differential treatment. Gender equality can often be achieved just by holding everyone to the same standard.

How do you end a gender inequality essay? ›

To conclude the gender inequality essay, we need to get rid of the old-age traditions and mentality. We must teach everyone, especially the boys all about equality and respect. It requires quite a lot of work but it is possible. We can work together and achieve equal respect and opportunities for all genders alike.

How can gender equality be improved in the society? ›

Employers can promote gender equality in the workplace by being transparent about wages, to ensure women aren't receiving less than men in equivalent roles. Pay brackets can encourage female applicants and employees to negotiate their wage by giving an indication of reasonable expectations for a particular role.

What can the government do to promote gender equality? ›

Five Things World Leaders Can Do Right Now to Advance Gender Equality
  • Level the law. Governments have the legislative power to remedy gender discrimination enshrined in laws, but often, that power is squandered. ...
  • Girls and women count, so make sure you count them. ...
  • Elevate her. ...
  • End gender-based violence. ...
  • Pay for Parity.
19 Jan 2020

Does Australia have equal rights? ›

Australia is founded on the rule of law and has a strong tradition of respect for the rights and freedoms of every individual. Human rights are recognised and protected across Australia through a range of laws at the federal and state and territory levels, the Australian Constitution, and the common law.

Who is affected by gender inequality? ›

Gender inequality affects everyone, including men. Stereotypes or 'rules' about how women and men, girls and boys should be begin in childhood and follow us through to adulthood. Not everyone experiences inequality the same way.

How does gender affect your life? ›

Gender roles in society means how we're expected to act, speak, dress, groom, and conduct ourselves based upon our assigned sex. For example, girls and women are generally expected to dress in typically feminine ways and be polite, accommodating, and nurturing.

Why is gender important in society? ›

Gender is of key importance in defining the power, privilege and possibilities that some people have and some people do not have in a given society. It affects progress towards equality and freedom from discrimination.

Who is responsible for gender equality? ›

Governments are responsible for the enforcement of the right to education and for non-discrimination. They must consider the gender implications of how they allocate resources and make school leadership appointments.

How do you explain gender inequality? ›

What is gender inequality? Gender inequality is discrimination on the basis of sex or gender causing one sex or gender to be routinely privileged or prioritized over another. Gender equality is a fundamental human right and that right is violated by gender based discrimination.

How did gender equality start? ›

Gender Equality was made part of international human rights law by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1948.

What are the barriers to gender equality? ›

In both private and public spheres, women face occupational segregation, and multiple barriers—such as lack of access to land, capital, financial resources and technology, as well as gender-based violence—due to cultural mindsets and stereotypes.

What are 3 examples of inequality in society today? ›

The major examples of social inequality include income gap, gender inequality, health care, and social class.

How has gender equality changed over time? ›

The ratio has shown a net rise in each decade since 1990 but at a much slower rate than was observed in the 1980s. By 2018, women earned 83% what men did at the median. In percentage point increase, the rise was less in the 28 y of 1990 to 2018 than it was in the single decade of the 1980s.

Why equality is important in our life? ›

Equality is about ensuring that every individual has an equal opportunity to make the most of their lives and talents. It is also the belief that no one should have poorer life chances because of the way they were born, where they come from, what they believe, or whether they have a disability.

What is gender equality simple definition? ›

Equality between women and men (gender equality): refers to the equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities of women and men and girls and boys.

How can you promote gender equality as a student? ›

Challenging gender stereotypes can go a long way towards promoting gender equality. Stereotyped ideas about what's suitable for boys and girls can limit our opportunities to learn and develop.
...
Challenge Gender Stereotypes
  1. Be vigilant.
  2. Create a safe space.
  3. Watch your language.
  4. Speak up.
  5. Don't label.
  6. Change your mindset.
6 Mar 2022

Is Australia a feminist country? ›

Australia has a long-standing association with the protection and creation of women's rights. Australia was the second country in the world to give women the right to vote (after New Zealand in 1893) and the first to give women the right to be elected to a national parliament.

Is there a gender pay gap in Australia? ›

Currently, Australia's national gender pay gap is 14.1 per cent. The national gender pay gap is calculated by WGEA using the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

What has Australia done for women's rights? ›

For a long time, Australia has been recognised internationally for its support for women's rights around the world – through its aid program, peacekeeping contributions, regional engagement and interventions on bodies such as the UN Human Rights Council.

Is discrimination illegal in Australia? ›

In Australia, it is unlawful to discriminate on the basis of a number of protected attributes including age, disability, race, sex, intersex status, gender identity and sexual orientation in certain areas of public life, including education and employment.

What country has the best gender equality? ›

According to the Gender Inequality Index (GII), Denmark was the most gender equal country in the world in 2021. The Gender Inequality Index measures reflecting inequality in achievement between women and men in three dimensions: reproductive health, empowerment, and the labor market.

What is the benefit of gender equality? ›

Gender equality makes our communities safer and healthier

Unequal societies are less cohesive. They have higher rates of anti-social behaviour and violence. Countries with greater gender equality are more connected. Their people are healthier and have better wellbeing.

Is Australia a male dominated society? ›

As in most countries, in Australia the political and economic systems remain dominated by men despite efforts to advance greater diversity across both sectors in the past 3 decades.

What is gender equality and why is it important? ›

Gender equality prevents violence against women and girls. It's essential for economic prosperity. Societies that value women and men as equal are safer and healthier. Gender equality is a human right.

How do you explain gender inequality? ›

What is gender inequality? Gender inequality is discrimination on the basis of sex or gender causing one sex or gender to be routinely privileged or prioritized over another. Gender equality is a fundamental human right and that right is violated by gender based discrimination.

How many genders are there in world? ›

There are many different gender identities, including male, female, transgender, gender neutral, non-binary, agender, pangender, genderqueer, two-spirit, third gender, and all, none or a combination of these.

How does gender inequality affect Australia? ›

Gender inequality interacts with other systems of power and inequality resulting in multiple and intersecting experiences of inequality and disadvantage for marginalised women. 1 in 3 women in Australia has experienced violence since the age of 15. 1 in 3 women have been sexually harassed since the age of 15.

How did gender equality start? ›

Gender Equality was made part of international human rights law by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1948.

What are my rights in Australia? ›

The Australian Government is committed to protecting and promoting traditional rights and freedoms, including freedom of speech, opinion, religion, association and movement.

How are rights protected in Australia? ›

Unlike most similar liberal democracies, Australia does not have a Bill of Rights. Instead, protections for human rights may be found in the Constitution and in legislation passed by the Commonwealth Parliament or State or Territory Parliaments.

What are basic human rights in Australia? ›

the right to freedom of conscience and religion. the right to freedom of expression. the right to freedom of association. the right to be free from torture.

Videos

1. YWCA's Delegation to the Commission on the Status of Women: First Week Updates!
(YWCA Australia)
2. Episode 4: How should the next president address issues on gender equality and women's rights?
(Rosas Blvd Podcast)
3. Despite gender equality law, Japan's parliament faces lack of female representation | ABC News
(ABC News (Australia))
4. About Positive Consent in law - Anna Kerr
(Women's Declaration International (WDI))
5. Bronwyn Winter on historic damages to women and lesbian rights by the gender industry
(Women's Declaration International (WDI))
6. Why Do You Support Australian Marriage Equality?
(William Brougham)

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