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Gender Inequality: A Global Issue

Gender inequality is evident all over the world, with serious negative impacts on people's lives. Consider the following statistics.

Before considering ways of addressing gender inequality, start by considering how this problem manifests in society.

Women and girls represent half of the world’s population and therefore also half of its potential, yet gender inequality persists all around the world and stagnates social progress. The given video, created as part of the Change the Story framework (2015) by VicHealth, Our Watch, and Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS), explains how such inequality is ingrained and perpetuated in many cultures around the world. Consider the following Australian and international statistics.

According to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Report of 2021:

  • One in three women are subjected to physical or sexual violence in their lifetime and up to 10 million girls will be at risk of child marriage over the next decade.
  • Women spend 2.5 times as many hours as men on unpaid domestic and care work — this disparity is growing due to the pandemic, squeezing more women out of the labour force.
  • Women represent only 25.6% of national parliaments, 36.3% of local governments, and 28.2% of management positions.

Even in a developed state like Victoria, Australia, gender inequality has a significant impact on people’s lives. According to research done by the State of Victoria (2016):

  • More women than men graduate from higher learning but receive a lower than average graduate salary — Victorian women earn 87.6 cents to every dollar earned by men.
  • Boys typically receive eight times more attention in the classroom than girls.
  • Girls are more likely to opt out of intensive maths subjects in the final years of school.
  • Boys in the US and Australia are more likely than girls to be diagnosed with a behaviour disorder, prescribed stimulant medications, fail school, binge drink, commit a violent crime, and/or take their own lives.
  • 50% of mothers experience discrimination during pregnancy, on parental leave, or when returning to work.
  • The gender pay gap and reduced employment opportunities mean that women retire with half the savings of men, impacting their financial security, health, and wellbeing, and increasing the risk of homelessness.

In many countries, the ongoing impact of colonisation exacerbates this power imbalance. Our Watch (2018) highlights the following statistics for indigenous women in Australia:

  • In Australia, Indigenous women are more than three times likely to experience violence than non-Indigenous women.
  • Three in five Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have experienced physical or sexual violence by a male intimate partner.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are eleven times more likely to die as a result of assault.

Unfortunately, these statistics do not exist in a vacuum — they are the product of deeply held beliefs about gender that materialise in everyday instances of discrimination.

Join the Discussion:

How can gender inequality be observed where you live?
Share some statistics from your community in the Comments section below. Click the Mark as complete button to check this step off before continuing to the next step.
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