The Australian Human Rights Commission’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins in 2016 “travelled to every state and territory to learn about Australia’s progress towards gender equality.”
Kate met with more than 1,000 people about her priorities: ending violence against women, improving women’s economic security and increasing diversity in decision-making. Recognising that discrimination on the basis of a combination of attributes – such as gender and age or gender and disability – can be hard to identify, her conversations focused on engaging with people from a diverse range of communities and with a variety of life experiences.
The ultimate product of this taxpayer-funded gabfest/holiday is a glossy 40 page Australian Human Rights Commission brochure. The brochure starts off with “reflections from Kate…”
We are at a critical time for gender equality in Australia. We are seeing shifts we never would have seen a decade ago, such as an increasing focus on the achievements of women in sport and the recognition of domestic violence as a workplace issue. In the World Economic Forum’s 2016 Gender Gap Report, Australia ranked number one for educational attainment. Yet that same report ranked Australia 46th for overall gender equality due to low levels of economic participation and political empowerment.
Incorrect assumptions are being made about the progress of gender equality both in Australia and internationally. A 2017 global survey found that 62% of Australian men agreed with the statement ‘Women have equal opportunities to men in the country where I live’, compared to 48% of women. These misconceptions signal the need for an increase in our efforts and priorities.
Needless to say Jenkins assumes it’s men’s misconceptions that must be shifted through “an increase in our efforts and priorities”, although it is unclear how priorities can be increased.
We heard that the Australian community welcomes the recent focus on family violence although there could be better understanding of the diverse forms of family violence beyond physical and sexual (including financial and emotional) and the impact of family violence on children. We also heard the urgent need to broaden this focus. In addition to violence in the home and residential settings, women are experiencing violence in their workplaces and in public spaces including sexual assault, sexual harassment, everyday sexism, online violence; and unacceptable violence against intersectional communities of women.
Such loose use of language by a government entity is totally unacceptable: violence can’t be financial, emotional or virtual, it must be physical.
Further, repeated studies reveal that women are more likely to assault male partners than vice versa and that half of violence within relationships is bidirectional. Unfortunately for women, men’s greater size and strength inevitably leads to female injury should males either retaliate to aggression or initiate violence. This is why females are more likely than males to use weapons when assaulting partners.
Government funding of the AHRC is absurd when countless leftist websites provide equally biased information for free.