The One Thing 129 Countries Have Promised To Do, But Are All Set To Fail
Almost 130 countries signed a United Nations agreement in 2015, to strive for gender equality by 2030 but new research has revealed not one country is on track to hit that milestone.
The SDG Index developed by Equal Measures 2030, measures 51 targets that affect the lives of women and girls such as health, education, violence and work.
The global average score of all countries indexed was 65.7 out of 100, or 'poor' on the official scoring system.
Only eight percent of girls and women live in the 21 countries ranked as 'good' -- above 80 percent -- an 'excellent' rank is yet to exist.
Denmark clinched the top spot followed by Finland and Sweden while Australia came in tenth, just ahead of New Zealand.
At the bottom of the list is Yemen, Congo and Chad.
Philanthropist Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, described the report as "a wake-up call to the world."
For Australia to reach what has been dubbed the 'last mile' of gender equality, there are still a number of barriers that need to be broken.
These are some of the main sticking points:
MEN Still Dominate In The Workforce
Women make up 47 percent of the workforce in Australia yet an average full-time female worker earns 14.1 percent less than their male counterparts, that equates to about $239.80 less per week than men, according to government data.
Superannuation contributions are far more bleak, with balances for women at retirement age (aged 60-64) 42 percent on average lower than those for men.
But the pay gap isn't the only hurdle to gender equality in the workplace, women make up only five percent of CEOs and only 20 percent of executive management in ASX 200 companies.
Sexual harassment is another issue preventing equality. A survey conducted by the Human Rights Commission in 2018 found that one in three Australians had experienced sexual harassment.
However, only 17 percent brought it to the attention of managers.
"The reason being is that within the workplace culture, victims feel that if they complain or make a fuss about their negative experience they would probably be victimised themselves," Dr Elizabeth Shi from the graduate school of business and law at RMIT said.
So how do we address these issues in the workplace? Education is a key factor, according to Shi.
"Education will play an important role and that can be driven by the law. It’s not going to be an overnight process and that’s why there have to be long term goals."
Shi is calling for a cultural change on an individual, company and government level.
"Managers should be encouraging their staff to take a more proactive role in promoting and educating their workforce about gender equality," she said.
"Individuals who are witnessing sexual harassment should be reporting that to the manager not just the victims... it's something managers and management should take leadership on," she said.
She also called for a gender quota to be introduced.
Violence Against Women Is Still A Big Issue
It is a widespread and deadly problem that remains prevalent in Australia.
On average, one woman a week dies at the hands of her current or former partner, 21 women have already died violently this year, according to Our Watch.
One in three Australian women have experienced physical violence since the age of 15, that figure only lowers slightly to one in five in terms of sexual violence, while Australian women are nearly three times more likely than men to experience violence from an intimate partner.
“We know from the research that violence against women begins with gender inequality and disrespect," said Our Watch Ambassador, Tarang Chawla.
“Sexism and disrespect are deeply interwoven into the fabric of our culture and society, and they ultimately create an environment where violence against women is seen as ‘normal’."
Chawla explained that violence against women, much like inequality in the workplace, can't be fixed overnight and will take years before a shift in attitudes, behaviours and practices is seen.
“The good news is that violence against women is preventable, provided we take a collective ‘whole of society’ approach," Chawla said.
The Average Aussie Is Still Assumed To Be A Bloke
It's wrong. In fact, it's actually a woman's world with females representing roughly 51 percent of the population.
According to Helen Dalley-Fisher from the Equality Rights Alliance, the country's policies don't reflect that.
"When the government decides to spend taxpayer dollars they’re not focusing on what we need to be safe, to be financially secure, to be equal.
The sort of things I’m talking about are unexpected things like, what’s our trade policy doing for women? What’s the policy on rural and regional infrastructure doing?" Dalley-Fisher said.
She's calling for a shift in the way society thinks about women, most urgently from parliamentarians.
While Dalley-Fisher praised Prime Minister Scott Morrison for boosting the number of women in cabinet to a record seven -- equating to 30.4 percent -- she said that introducing quotas and targets to increase the number of women further, will help prompt change.