Women for the World report reveals a generational divide in the fight for gender equality

- October 17, 2023 2 MIN READ


A new study by Caritas Australia, The Women for the World report, reveals attitudes towards gender equality are vastly different amongst Australians depending on their generation.

The report found noticeable differences in how discrimination is perceived and in whether gender equality and gender equity are an issue.

Generational issues aside, Kirsty Robertson, CEO of Caritas Australia, says the majority of Australians believe more should be done to prevent discrimination.

“The Women for the World report revealed that 75 per cent of Australians surveyed felt that women face discrimination daily, calling for the urgent need for collective action to dismantle barriers and create a world where women and girls can thrive.”

Key points
  • Generational Divide: Younger generations are significantly more likely to report experiencing gender discrimination, with 42 per cent having experienced discrimination.
  • Consistent Male Perspectives: Men’s views on gender discrimination remain consistent regardless of age, suggesting expectations regarding gender roles and equality are deeply ingrained.
  • Perceptions on Women in Leadership: There is a disconnect between perceptions and women’s actual experiences in leadership roles.

A generation gap in perception

The report highlights a noticeable generational divide in how different age groups perceive gender discrimination. Younger generations, specifically Millennials and Gen Z, appear to be more alert to these issues, with 42 per cent reporting that they have experienced gender discrimination. In contrast, only 25 per cent of older respondents indicated such experiences. This divergence raises questions about what shapes these generational differences, with younger individuals potentially being more aware of discrimination in society.

Men: shared views across generations

Surprisingly, there is little difference in how men perceive gender discrimination when looking across the generations. Regardless of cultural, social, and historical variations, men from different age groups hold similar views on gender discrimination. This suggests that values and attitudes surrounding gender often persist from one generation to the next, reflecting the deeply ingrained nature of societal norms and expectations related to gender roles and equality.

Views on Women in Leadership

When it comes to advancing the proportion of women in leadership roles, men from various age groups tend to believe that women hold a sufficient number of leadership positions, if not exceeding their share. However, it’s essential to recognise that this perspective may not fully capture women’s actual experiences in leadership roles. This underscores the disconnect between men’s perceptions and women’s lived experiences in leadership positions.

Younger generations, particularly Millennials and Gen Z, demonstrate a higher degree of awareness of these issues and advocate for more substantial progress in achieving gender equality. However all age groups expressed a desire for change and gender equality, emphasising the idea that the pursuit of gender equality is a shared aspiration for Australians as a whole.

Acknowledging gender discrimination

Despite variations in the frequency and impact of gender discrimination, Australians across all walks of life acknowledge its existence, with particular recognition of its impact on women. These disparities in experiences and views underscore the urgency to address imbalances in workplaces and leadership positions, highlighting the importance of female role models and equal opportunities.

For more details and access to the full report, you can visit Caritas Australia’s Women for the World page.

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