Gender is a complex concept and is often confused by the biological sex of a person. Gender is the socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities and attributes societies consider appropriate to women and men.  If we use the notion of ‘gender order’ it may help us see how both men and women have been categorised into particular roles and expectations, both individually and within a society structurally.  (Pease,  2015).

Gender Equality is the equal participation of both women and men in all spheres of public and private life.  Gender Equality aims to empower women, increase women’s choices and broaden women’s participation in society and in relationships.

When we refer to Gender Inequality, we are speaking about the unequal participation or restriction to participate in society.  The individual and structural restriction, undervaluing of women and discrimination of women due to rigid social structures, and a limiting notion of  ‘gender order’, which has historically positioned men as superior to women, is contributing to men’s violence against women.  Gender equality helps to prevent men’s violence against women by realigning the social structures,  social norms and behaviors which allow women greater participation, representation in society, and fairer distribution of power, resources and opportunity. (Our Watch, Change the Story Framework)

So what does Gender Inequality actually look like?   Watch this short clip

Gender Inequality in Australia

2014 Face the Facts Gender Inequality in Australia. Infographic by Autralian Human Rights CommissionWomen and girls continue to experience inequality and discrimination in many areas including:

  • Gender pay gap or ‘pay disparity’ (currently 18.2% up from 15.2% in 2006).
  • Workplace sexual harassment (most often sexually suggestive comments/jokes, intrusive questions about private life or appearance ) and inappropriate staring or leering).
  • Underrepresented in leadership roles in politics, media, business and sport sectors
  • Discrimination during pregnancy, parental leave and  returning to work (eg. redundant, restructured, dismissed, or contract not renewed).
  • Women spend more time caring for children than fathers, and more time in unpaid domestic roles than men.
  • Women are over represented as part-time workers in low paid industries.
  • Women have substantially lower superannuation payouts than men.
  • 1 in 3 Australian women aged 15 years and over has experienced physical violence and almost 1 in 5 has experienced sexual assault.

  (Australian Human Rights Commission)


Gender inequality and violence against women

Gender inequality creates the social context for violence against women
Gender inequality helps to create the social environment that allows discrimination and violence against women to exist. Social norms, practices and structures contribute to an environment where women and girls are undervalued and discriminated against.  By addressing gender inequality we are aiming to interrupt and change the social context that supports and allows violence against women to continue.

Violence against women is serious, prevalent and driven by gender inequalityIt is clearly established that Gender Inequality is the driver of men’s violence against women (Our Watch).  Therefore Gender Equality is the solution and vital to prevent men’s violence against women.  We are asking everyone to Make the Link and contribute to creating long lasting change in our communities.

Gender equality and violence against women

UNWomen’s study of 56 countries calculating rates of physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence and measure of gender equality, indicated that in countries with higher gender equality, there tend to be lower rates of violence. Those with the lowest gender equality scores had the highest rates of violence.

Violence against women – Impact on health

We have to talk about violence as gendered. For the simple fact that for women, intimate partner violence is the greatest contributor to ill health, death and disability. This is greater than any other contributor to ill health, including obesity, alcohol and illicit drugs. Violence against women and their children is costing Australia $21.6 billion each year (VicHealth)

One in three women has experienced physical violence, since the age of 15 (Our Watch) . While Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experience violence at around twice the rate of non-Indigenous women, and are 34 times more likely to be hospitalised due to family violence related assaults than other Australian women.

More key stats and resources on Gender Equality can be found at Our Watch, ANROWS, VicHealth and Australian Human Rights Commission.