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Gender Equality in Principle But Not in Reality – Report


Wednesday, 8th March 2017 at 1:31 pm
Lina Caneva, Editor
Seven in 10 Australians think women and men still don’t have full equal rights, while only six in 10 actively support women’s rights, according to a new global study coinciding with International Women’s Day.


Wednesday, 8th March 2017
at 1:31 pm
Lina Caneva, Editor


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Gender Equality in Principle But Not in Reality – Report
Wednesday, 8th March 2017 at 1:31 pm

Seven in 10 Australians think women and men still don’t have full equal rights, while only six in 10 actively support women’s rights, according to a new global study coinciding with International Women’s Day.

The new data from Ipsos showed that although the vast majority of people around the world say they believe men and women should be treated equally (88 per cent on average), most still think the current situation is one of inequality in terms of social, political and/or economic rights (72 per cent on average).

Women are more positive when it comes to their own lives – six in 10 on average agree they have “full equality with men in their country and the freedom to reach their full dreams and aspirations” – although this still means that in several countries many women disagree.

The online survey, among adults aged under 65 in Australia and 23 other countries, found a majority defined themselves as a feminist (58 per cent on average), even though a quarter (24 per cent) said they were scared to speak up for equal rights – especially in India.

Director of the Ipsos Social Research Institute in NSW David Elliott said: “Ipsos’s latest international study suggests that the principle of gender equality is making more progress around the world than the reality.

“It’s encouraging that the vast majority of both men and women around the world believe in equal opportunity, and that feminism doesn’t seem to be a minority pursuit – but at the same time most still believe that true equality of rights is not here yet.

“There also remains a minority of both sexes who believe in male superiority – but perhaps most concerning are the one in four who are scared to speak up for equal rights, especially in some pockets of the world.

“When it comes to Australia, we tend to be around the international average on most measures, but even so, seven in 10 of us think women and men don’t have full equal rights at the moment, and only six in 10 actively support women’s rights.”

The key findings include the main differences between countries and between men and women.

Does equality exist?

  • Nine in 10 people around the world (88 per cent on average) and in Australia (92 per cent) say they believe in equal opportunities for men and women, and the figure is high among both men and women (86 per cent and 89 per cent respectively).
  • However, 72 per cent on average globally (and 73 per cent in Australia) say that inequality currently exists in terms of social, political, and/or economic rights, especially among women (by 76 per cent to 68 per cent of men).
  • Women, however, are more positive personally. On average, 60 per cent agree that they have full equality with men in their country and the freedom to achieve their dreams and aspirations – but 40 per cent disagree, with a similar proportion in Australia at 36 per cent.

Standing up for equal rights

  • On average, six in 10 (58 per cent) across the 24 countries say they would define themselves as feminist, with women more likely to do so than men. Again Australians are around the average with 60 per cent defining themselves as feminist.
  • Seven in 10 (68 per cent) also claim to actively support women’s rights by speaking up to change things rather than just thinking about them. On this measure, Australia sits less positively, with 61 per cent suggesting they speak up.
  • However, one in four of both women and men say they are scared to speak up for equal rights for women (26 per cent and 23 per cent respectively). In Australia women demonstrate more fear than men in this regard (26 per cent versus 21 per cent respectively).

Gender roles

  • On average, one in five believe that women are inferior to men, or that women should not aspire to do anything outside of the household (18 per cent and 17 per cent respectively). In Australia 14 per cent believe women are inferior to men, with men more likely to hold this view than women (17 per cent versus 12 per cent), while 14 per cent believe women should not aspire to do anything outside of the household.
  • A similar proportion, 25 per cent on average, believe men are more capable of doing things in society such as working, earning money, being educated and teaching than women. In Australia, two in 10 (21 per cent) hold this view. Again, men are more likely to agree with this than women (26 per cent to 16 per cent in Australia).

Lina Caneva  |  Editor |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years, and Editor of Pro Bono Australia News since it was founded in 2000.

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