Pursuing equality: The myth women are ‘less capable’ proves there’s still work to do


Journalist Jan Fran.

One-in-seven Australians think men are more capable than women in the workplace and in politics. Yes, that much!

This statistic comes from the National community attitudes towards violence against women report, Australia’s longest- running annual snapshot of the communities’ attitudes towards gender equality and gender-based violence, which was released last week.

It was affronting, to say the least. Particularly as Australian women have come such a long way in the struggle for equality.

It wasn’t so long ago working mothers were disparaged. As for salary, an equal minimum wage was only legislated in 1970 in Australia. Before that, there was a longstanding practice of paying women less, due to the belief men had more financial responsibilities, such as family expenses.

This survey should be a wake-up call for all of us. While we’ve made great leaps forward, we still have such a long way to go.

Too many young women and men in our community think we’ve already achieved equality, or the pendulum has swung too far. In fact, sexism and inequality prevail in Australia and has serious consequence on the lives of girls and women, as well as boys and men.

Take the gender pay gap. It’s 2018 but we still have a considerable one. Nationally, men’s average full-time pay, including bonuses and other extras, is now 21.3% more than women’s. This works out to an extra $25,717 every year.

The pay gap is reflected in everything from the way we dress babies to the pocket money we give, with boys getting more than girls.

And it’s just one equality battle we still face in Australia. What else is there?

We sought to answer this question in our new podcast Sexism And The City, which aims to start a conversation about modern-day sexism, which exists all over the world, and bust common myths about gender inequality.

Teaming up with journalist Jan Fran, we explored harrowing and little-known issues from sexist streets to street harassment, which is limiting the freedom of young women and girls across the world every day, from Sydney to Sao Paulo.

It’s important to understanding inequality is still a problem in Australia, and across the world, which requires genuine action.

It’s often set aside in the ‘too-hard’ basket. People say we can’t change the long-held views and behaviours that perpetuate inequality, or they’re somehow harmless, or will get better with time.

Our 2017 Dream Gap report revealed just on how much work we still have to do when it comes to the attitudes of boys and girls.

One of the most troubling findings was the starling loss of confidence among girls as they transition into the teenage years, and their growing awareness of inequality in all areas of their lives. Almost all 93% of the girls aged 15-17 that were surveyed said it would be easier to get ahead in life if they weren’t judged on their appearance.

The young Australian women we are working with say they’re sick and tired of facing inequality and feeling unsafe, simply because they were born a girl.

We also know with greater equality and more flexible gender roles, everyone benefits. For instance, violence is less common in societies where men and women are more equal in their relationships, and not expected to play different roles based on their sex.

We can drive change, in Australia, and across the world, but it requires attention, conversations and working together to find solutions. You can play a valuable role in this discussion. How can you broach a subject like equality with your mum, dad, workmate or uncle?

The article was originally published on Women’s Agenda. Read the original article.

NOW READ: Unconscious bias: Amazon forced to scrap machine learning recruitment tool because it didn’t like women

NOW READ: Women in technology: Fighting inequality starts within yourself


Notify of
1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
2 years ago

I wonder if it is because, despite the massive advances for women over the last hundred years they are constantly reminded of the gaps and dangers they face, it’s a bit like the ‘stranger danger’ campaigns in the 80’s. For example, rather than putting an expectation for women to go into a job negation asking for higher a higher salary they’re told the system is against them so don’t expect more. I know plenty of assertive women who are able to get paid the same, if not more than their male colleagues. Maybe more positive rather than deficit based discussions may shift perceptions?