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Dinosaur age … you’ll be shocked by these gender equality findings

A new report by Deloitte Access Economics, in partnership with Australians Investing in Women, has found Australia is moving backwards on gender equality, despite years of policies and programs aiming to level the playing field for men and women.

The report, Breaking the Norm: Unleashing Australia’s economic potential, found breaking entrenched gender norms could boost the Australian economy by $128 billion a year and generate 461,000 additional full-time jobs.

More broadly, it said, breaking down damaging gender norms would help create a more inclusive society and contribute to greater well-being.

Of eight key gender-related gaps, the report identifies five gaps where progress has stopped or stalled: unpaid domestic work, part-time employment, occupation and industry distribution, investment, and intimate partner violence.

Australia is moving backwards on gender equity, despite years of policies and programs aiming to level the playing field for men and women, the report found.

Some of the shocking findings, based on research by the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership:

* 30% of Australian men think gender inequality doesn’t really exist. This was the highest of all countries except Saudi Arabia.

* 26% of men think women exaggerate claims of abuse and rape, the highest of any Western nation surveyed.

* Gen Z men are less likely than Baby Boomers to think that a father should be as heavily involved in the care of his children as their mother.

Deloitte Access Economic Partner, Sruthi Srikanthan said “The way that Australia has aimed to tackle gender inequality has historically looked at different outcomes of gender norms, like the costs of childcare, the structure of paid parental leave, or discriminatory hiring practices. What this report shows is that without looking at the common source of these gender gaps, each action only plugs a leak that springs up elsewhere. We need to turn the tap off.”

The report suggests that actions that need to go forward include:

  • Shifting how gender is communicated in early childhood
  • Encouraging men to be active fathers
  • Preventing the portrayal of harmful stereotypes in media
  • Removing workforce disincentives for women
  • Adopting equitable recruiting and promotion practices
  • Rewarding businesses which perform well
  • Applying a gender lens to decision-making
  • Promoting role models who go against the status quo

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