Half of all mothers in the workplace have reported discrimination as a result of their pregnancy and parental leave. And 20 percent of mothers reported they were made redundant, dismissed, or placed in a different position as a result of being pregnant or having had a baby.
Gender inequality prevails on the domestic front, too.
Most primary unpaid carers of children are women (70 per cent). And compared to men, women spend almost twice as many hours each day performing unpaid care work.
Still, there are signs that the culture is changing, even if at a glacial pace.
The number of women on the boards of ASX-listed companies grew from 8.3 percent in 2009 to 26.2 percent in 2017.
And research shows that 90 percent of Australian men and women believe that men should be as involved in parenting as women.
Meanwhile, many women are taking up the fight to bring about gender equality in Australia.
Brisbane woman Madeline Price is the founder and national director of the One Woman Project, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to providing quality education about gender equality. Its mission statement: “We believe that the first step to ending global gender inequality is to educate and upskill our young people to tackle it in their own local, national and international communities.”
There’s also the Equality Rights Alliance (ERA), which is Australia’s largest network that advocates “for women’s equality, women’s leadership and recognition of women’s diversity.”
They bring together 61 non-government organisations and social enterprises with a focus on the impact of policy or service delivery on women.
The influence of such organisations is needed more than ever.
Australia’s ranking in gender equality has dropped in the course of a decade. In 2017, Australia was ranked 35th on a global index measuring gender equality, slipping from 15th in 2006.