Wednesday 8 March 2017

A woman was sexually assaulted by a man in the street while his two friends looked on. Instead of condemning the attacks, our public conversation fixated on the idea that she shouldn’t have been out by herself at night.

A young woman living in a city was discouraged from applying for a mechanical apprenticeship because it was a career ‘for boys’.

A woman was asked by her employer to wear a bikini while fruit picking in order to get paid a bonus.

These are just some examples of the personal stories that Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins heard during consultations across Australia, shared in a report released in time for International Women’s Day.

“Today’s report shares some of the powerful stories I have heard about the realities of gender equality across Australia since starting my term,” said Commissioner Jenkins.

“Some of these stories show the terrible impact of violence upon women and children in Australia. Others demonstrate the ingenuity of women across Australia who are responding to the most complex issues that we face as a society.”

A conversation in gender equality shares some of the common themes that emerged during the Commissioner’s consultations with more 1,000 people from every state and territory in Australia.

The consultations focused on engaging with people from a diverse range of communities and with a variety of life experiences.

“Too often we look at gender equality through a single lens, as if all women have the same lived experiences,” Commissioner Jenkins explained.

“I wanted to release a report that reflected the diverse voices, concerns and solutions that I heard during my consultations. As Sex Discrimination Commissioner, I am committed to amplifying their voices and ideas.”

The report outlines the Commissioner’s three main priorities for achieving gender equality: ending violence against women, improving women’s economic security and increasing diversity in decision-making.

“While there have been substantial gains in equality under the law, one of the key findings of these consultations is that we do not have equality of outcomes,” said Commissioner Jenkins.

“Nonetheless, I remain optimistic about our ability to achieve gender equality in Australia.

“I hope that when you read the report you are inspired by the ingenuity and resilience in our community and the dedication shown by individuals and organisations who are striving to improve opportunities for women and girls in Australia.”

Read the report:

Download the infographic: