Australia is one of few developed nations that does not actively set targets for gender equality and measure progress towards nationally agreed goals.
Most countries that are now out-performing Australia on the Global Gender Gap Index (GGGI) produce an annual review of national performance against gender equality targets. They also have gender budget units in their treasury, as well as gender architecture and appropriate levels of funding to monitor performance and drive innovation.
Ultimately, what is required to rescue Australia’s deteriorating global gender equality performance and deliver meaningful progress towards achieving gender equality in Australia is a bi-partisan commitment to the necessary legislative framework, and the reinstatement of the machinery of government to measure and track progress towards that commitment.
To inform such a framework, it is necessary to understand that the causes of women’s economic, social and material disadvantage in Australia begin shortly after birth, and compound across the life course, resulting in a stark and pernicious inequality between Australian men and women in their older age.
This report brings together, for the first time, an overview of the evidence of this accumulated disadvantage to Australian women with an analysis of its causes and recommendations for change; and makes the case for a national, bi-partisan commitment to measure, evaluate and take action to close the gender equality gap in Australia.