Interactive chart: new data brings new opportunities for gender equity analysis
Last year I wrote a blog about gender equity and its significance in local government. It was a popular publication that generated significant interest, eliciting engaging discussions with community planners and gender equity officers and leading to requests for gender equity reports for municipalities in Victoria and New South Wales. We now have new Census data and a lot of gained experience with gender equity from working with several local government authorities. Are you looking for guidance in advancing gender equity in your community? We are here to help.
Why does gender equity matter?
Gender equality and equity are becoming mainstream concepts and important issues to address. The UN has made achieving gender equality one of its “17 Sustainable Development Goals” and Victoria has developed the Gender Equality Act, which requires public sector departments to conduct a gender impact assessment of their policies, programs and services.
Gender equity focuses on reducing the barriers faced by women and gender-diverse people and creating a fair, safe and inclusive society. Achieving gender equity leads to social benefits and economic gains, such as the potential to add $25 billion annually to the Australian economy. However in 2021, Australia ranked 50th in the world regarding gender equality, as the Covid-19 crisis has accelerated labour market disruption and disproportionately affected women.
Local government influence on gender equality
Local government can improve gender equity by considering and prioritising it in all their planning, policy, strategies, service delivery and practices.
At the local government level, gender strategies can change and improve gender equity in the community and within the council by ensuring gender equity is considered and prioritised in all council planning, policy, strategies, service delivery and practice. Local government gender equity strategies focus on promoting and enhancing gender equity within the organisation as well as the community.
Some examples of local government influence on gender equity:
- The provision of appropriate infrastructure, such as better streetlights, especially if research shows that a significant portion of the female labour force work in industries such as Accommodation and Food Services or Retail, where work hours can mean walking to/from home in darkness. Even transport infrastructure such as bike paths can be tailored to meet the different needs of women cyclists.
- Providing or expanding childcare/kindergarten services if research shows a significant proportion of women care for their own children and/or do not participate in the labour force.
- Creating services and programs where women can upskill, gain more access to knowledge about education, improve employment status, leadership development, knowledge of laws, rights, opportunities, etc.
- Educating the youth about gender issues and raising awareness of some challenges in their communities.
What is new?
The 2021 Census: Since our last blog about gender equity, the 2021 Census was published in entirety, meaning that we could produce several gender equity reports for LGAs in Victoria and New South Wales while fielding many enquiries about the report from LGAs across Australia – regional, rural, urban, suburban. I had almost 20 conversations with councils in Victoria to discuss our report and better understand what is required of them as part of the Gender Equality Act. I found a common need for an evidence base, such as our gender equity report, which can be used to address requirements of The Act across a Council organisation.
The arrival of a new Census 2021 dataset allows us to describe gender inequality more confidently and through many dimensions of data crosstabulation. We use our expertise in cross-tabulating appropriate data to create insights and easy-to-understand summaries that planners, strategists and community workers can use to improve decision-making in their municipality. New datasets within the Census, such as long-term health conditions, have been disaggregated by gender and added to our report, thereby increasing the breadth of information provided.
Global Gender Gap Report: Last year, the World Economic Forum also published the 2022 version of the Global Gender Gap Report. Australia was ranked 43rd out of 146 countries, a slight improvement from 2021’s uninspiring 50th place but still behind many OECD countries.
Gender wage gap legislation: The issue of gender equity and the persistent gender wage gap recently garnered attention as the Albanese Labor Government introduced the Workplace Gender Equality Amendment (Closing the Gender Pay Gap) Bill 2023. This significant piece of legislation aims to address the issue of unequal pay between genders and seeks to close the gender pay gap. One of the bill’s key provisions is the requirement for employers with 100 or more workers to publish their gender pay gaps, providing greater transparency in the workplace and promoting equality for all employees.
What does the new Census say about gender equity in your LGA?
I created this interactive chart to give you a taste of some selected gender-disaggregated data from the latest Census. Simply choose your LGA to learn a bit about how different some socio-economic characteristics are for females (orange bars) and males (blue bars). The statistics used in the chart describe age structure, education, employment, unpaid work, individual income discrepancies, health and family composition.
For example, 47% of the City of Adelaide’s population aged 65+ are males, and 53% are females; 58% of people in the labour force are males while 42% are females, and 56% of males had a personal income above the national median, compared to 44% of females.
Can we help you with your own gender equity analysis?
While developing our gender equity report, the most valuable feedback has been discussions with local government experts with clear and specific needs for gender-disaggregated data, with actual policy, strategy and community development applications to which they'll apply these insights. By hearing what they need, we sharpened the content and focus of the reports accordingly.
Do you have a gender equity policy, strategies or community initiatives where gender-disaggregated information would help you make better, more informed decisions? If so, we'd love to learn from you. If you are curious about the value of this information in your organisation, we'd love to hear from you too. Please get in touch and tell us what gender equity and having the correct information to make decisions means to you.