A new global report on gender equality has found that 53 per cent of Australian respondents think the government should do more to promote gender equality.
The findings come from an online poll conducted by global gender equality organisation Women Deliver and research agency Focus 2030 and includes responses from people across 17 countries and 6 continents. It surveyed 1,007 Australians including 517 women and 490 men.
According to the report, 42 per cent of respondents in Australia want their government to reform laws to promote gender equality between men and women, and end discrimination against women. 31 per cent of Australian respondents said they want their government to conduct regular reviews of progress in the pursuit of gender equality.
In terms of issues that should be addressed to improve gender equality, gender-based violence and economic justice and rights were the most significant for Australian respondents. These were followed by “feminist movements and leadership”.
The report also found that women were more likely than men to say gender equality was important to them personally. Of the 17 countries surveyed, the difference between men and women on this issue was largest in Tunisia, at 22 percentage points, then Australia, at 14 percentage points.
The Women Deliver and Focus 2030 report comes after Australia’s most recent federal budget was criticised by experts for the lack of measures that addressed women’s economic security . The budget dedicated just $240 million over five years to women’s economic security, totally 0.038% of the budget’s total spend.
These criticisms were made as the COVID-19 pandemic had deepened the economic inequality between men and women, and as women continued to face discrimination and abuse in the workplace and at home.
According to the latest gender pay gap report from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, on average, women earn $25, 534 less than men every year. Yet the federal government did not produce a gender-based analysis of the budget measures.
The findings also precede the Generation Equality Forum, a global gathering for gender equality convened by UN Women and co-hosted by France and Mexico, scheduled for two months time. It will be an opportunity for world leaders, in both government and the private sector to commit to bold, specific action on gender equality issues.
Sixty-one percent of global respondents to the Women Deliver and Focus 2030 survey urged their governments to use this forum as an opportunity to increase funding for gender equality initiatives.
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, said 2021 should be a milestone year for progress on gender equality.
“At such a critical moment it is invigorating to see that global public opinion is not only behind us, but pushing us to do more,” she said.
“The world is affirming that gender equality cannot wait. We can and we must achieve it in our generation, and it must be intersectional and intergenerational.”