In the lead up to International Women’s Day on the 8th of March 2021, we conducted a study to gain insights into gender equality in Australia. We found that 88% of Australians agree that Australians value the contribution women make to society. Males are twice as likely as females to strongly agree with this (35% cf. 17%).

A further 84% believe Australia as a nation could do more to challenge gender bias and inequality. Females are more likely than males to strongly agree (41% cf. 25%).

Younger Australians are championing the cause of gender equality

Gen Z (38%) and Gen Y (37%) are more likely than Gen X (30%) and Builders (29%) to strongly agree Australia as a nation could do more to challenge gender bias and inequality. Younger Australians (29% of Gen Z) are also actively making decisions that challenge gender bias and inequality (compared to 12% of Baby Boomers).

‘Generation Z are entering our workplaces in big numbers. They are standing on the shoulders of generations gone before and are not afraid to speak up about their expectations of diverse and representative workplaces. They will be post-dialectic in their nature, looking for ways to have both a career and a family. In order to support current and future generations of women in this endeavour, we need greater flexibility, support for women leaving the workforce as well as organisations who model this well. This is essential to get right today, so that we can set examples for what is possible for the next generation and establish a path for more diverse boardrooms and senior leadership teams in the future.’ – Ashley Fell, Social Researcher.

Women are well represented in the workforce but underrepresented in leadership

Half of Australians (48%) believe there is room for improvement when it comes to women in leadership/senior roles in Australian workplaces. A third (34%) believe Australian workplaces are doing extremely/very well in this area.

What holds workplaces back from women achieving 50% senior leadership roles?

Australians think the following holds workplaces back from achieving 50% senior leadership roles:

  • 80% think a lack of support for women exiting the workplace for family reasons
  • 79% think not enough flexible working options
  • 79% think there are not enough organisations who model women in senior leadership
  • 79% think a lack of awareness among male leaders of where Australian workplaces are at and what needs to change
  • 90% of Gen Z agree there is not enough training for organisations in how to recognise and push back against hiring bias (cf. 70% Baby Boomers).

 

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