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Does gender equality exist in Australia? Most say no: UC report

5 September 2018: An overwhelming proportion of Australians believe that inequality between women and men is still a problem in Australia today, a new report by the University of Canberra has found.

A national study undertaken by the University’s 50/50 by 2030 Foundation has revealed 88 per cent of Australians believe women aren’t treated equally to men.

The finding is one of many captured in From Girls to Men: Social Attitudes to Gender Equality in Australia – a landmark research project based on a survey of more than 2,000 Australians.

  • Download the report here.

In uncovering Australians’ attitudes to issues of sexism and gender inequality, the report also found that women (63 per cent) and men (53 per cent) agree sexism is most prevalent in politics.

Meanwhile, nearly half of all male respondents feel that men have been forgotten in the struggle for gender equality.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • Rural Australians have a more positive view of gender equality than city dwellers. While 70 per cent of metropolitan respondents identified as being progressive, compared to 65 per cent of rural respondents, when combined with moderate and traditional perspectives, the moderate voice in rural Australia (66 per cent) overpowers the traditional voice in metropolitan areas (44 per cent).
  • After politics, men and women agree sexism is most common in the workplace and in Australia’s media industry.
  • Men believe that political correctness benefits women in the workplace.
  • Millennial males hold increasingly traditional views. Sixty-two per cent of Millennial males who play online video games for an above average length of time align positively with traditional views on gender equality.

Report co-author Professor Mark Evans, Director of the University’s Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis, said the report exposed Australians’ reluctance to embrace gender equality.

“Our findings reveal that although Australia has some of the best anti-discrimination legislative frameworks in the world, a climate of bias and backlash towards women remains,” Professor Evans said.

“Across the country, women and girls are failing to flourish as they should, particularly given the country’s decade-long world number one ranking in female education.”

Dr Pia Rowe, 50/50 by 2030 Foundation Research Associate and Editor of the Foundation’s gender equality blog, Broad Agenda, said the report aims to fuel the national conversation around gender equality in Australia.

From Girls to Men: Social Attitudes to Gender Equality in Australia investigates attitudes towards issues of equality and empowerment, and the value systems that underpin them,” Ms Rowe said.

“It also explores whether these understandings, attitudes and values differ among generations, and traces the links between online activity and perspectives on gender equality and sexism.

“Australians’ attitudes and beliefs about what is possible, appropriate and right when it comes to women and girls have long escaped the spotlight. This report changes that.”

To mark the release of From Girls to Men: Social Attitudes to Gender Equality in Australia, the 50/50 by 2030 Foundation is hosting a panel discussion on gender equality in Australia.

Facilitated by best-selling author and social commentator Clementine Ford, the panel will feature a diverse group of Australians including:

  • Dr Jessa Rogers (Wiradjuri woman and Project Director of Indigenous Research and Education Strategy at the University of New England);
  • Associate Professor Michael Flood (internationally recognised researcher on men, masculinities and violence prevention);
  • Ashleigh Streeter (2018 ACT Woman of the Year and Forbes 30 under 30 recipient); and
  • Michael Livingstone (Executive Director of The Men’s Project).

WHAT: Launch of From Girls to Men: Social Attitudes to Gender Equality in Australia

WHEN: Wednesday 5 September 2018, 12pm – 2.30pm

WHERE: Old Parliament House

Contact the University of Canberra media team for media opportunities and interviews:

Antony Perry: 0434 795 919 |

Suzanne Lazaroo: 0409 140 415 |