Case for change

Gender equality prevents violence against women and girls

Gender equality is a precondition for the prevention of family violence and other forms of violence against women and girls.

Our Watch, Australia's national primary prevention organisation, released a report ‘Change the Story’ identifying four gendered drivers of violence that must be addressed if we are to reduce violence against women:

  • rigid gender roles and identities
  • condoning of violence against women
  • men’s control of decision-making and limits to women’s independence
  • male peer relations that emphasise aggression and disrespect towards women.
There is a need to implement primary prevention strategies that are designed to dismantle harmful attitudes towards women, promote gender equality and encourage respectful relationships

- Report of the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence

The Royal Commission called for the Victorian Gender Equality Strategy to serve as the platform for a strong primary prevention approach, linked Violence Action Plan.

Gender equality provides economic benefit

Every day that we fail to deliver gender equality we pay the economic price.

Closing Australia’s gender employment gap would boost GDP by around 11%, and by 20% of the productivity gap were addressed.

While women are now achieving at high levels of education, this has not translated to equal workforce engagement or earnings. The Australian economy would gain $8 billion if women transitioned from tertiary education into the workforce at the same rate as men.

Gender equality in leadership positions increases business performance. Research by the Peterson Institute for International Economics into 21,980 firms from 91 countries showed that firms with at least 30% women in leadership positions were 15% more profitable.

The cost of gender inequality

The disproportionate burden of unpaid care borne by women imposes major economic costs on Australia. In Australia in 2009–10 the unpaid care sector ($650 billion) was nearly six times larger than the paid care sector ($112.4 billion).

There are considerable savings to be realised by reducing violence against women and girls. In Victoria, family violence costs our economy more than $3.4 billion a year and constitutes 40% of police work.

Gender equality is a human right

Gender equality is a human right and a precondition for social justice.

As a party to both the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Beijing Platform for Action, Australia has committed itself to being a society with policies, laws, institutions and attitudes that support equal rights for women and men.

Australia also actively participated in international discussions to design the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, which set out clear goals for achieving gender equality.

Responsibility for realising a commitment to equality and non-discrimination falls to all levels of government. Victoria gives local expression to these values through the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 and the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic).

Gender equality delivers social benefits

The most unequal societies also tend to be the least cohesive, with higher rates of anti-social behaviour and violence. We also know that discrimination can lead to exclusion and that those who find themselves on the fringes are more likely to encounter discrimination.

In contrast, countries that maintain greater equality between men and women also experience a range of social benefits, including increased social cohesion, connectivity and greater health and wellbeing.

I'm sick of walking into meetings and seeing a room full of blokes sitting around a table. How does that help the progress of our state?
How does that guarantee the best decisions? And how does that influence the culture of an organisation for the better?
The fact is, when organisations lose diversity, they lose touch. And eventually, we all lose out. Because bad attitudes produce bad results.
Not just in organisations, but in our society.

- The Hon Daniel Andrews MP, Premier of Victoria