‘Structural and significant’: Australia’s long journey to reach gender equality

26 Mar 2024

High rates of violence, a growing gender pay gap and public attitudes are still just some of the many challenges Australia faces in its ongoing fight for gender equality, according to one of the nation’s leading voices on women’s rights.

Delivering the 2024 Susan Ryan Oration at The Australian National 51Թ (ANU), Ms Padma Raman, the inaugural Executive Director of the Australian Government’s Office for Women, outlined the steps Australia needs to take in order to achieve greater gender equality.

“Although we’ve seen great advances in recent decades the evidence tells us, clearly, there’s still a long way to go before we reach gender equality,” Ms Raman said.

“In spite of significant efforts across the nation, rates of violence against women remain alarmingly high. As of today, Destroy the Joint are reporting 16 women have been murdered by their current or former partners this year — and we are only in March.

“We continue to have high rates of sexual violence with poor justice responses.

“The Australian economy is increasingly reliant on paid and unpaid care — women on average do nine hours a week more unpaid care than men. And even with widespread workforce shortages, women often dominate low-paid care work that is often insecure and often done by the most marginalised.

“And we know compared to other OECD countries women are at the high end for part-time work. This is a contributor to 34 per cent of women relying on their partners’ income to meet the cost of retirement, compared to seven per cent of retired men.

“We have more women in leadership positions than ever before across a range of settings, yet so many women, especially public figures, experience high rates of abuse online.”

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