Gender equality and respect

National and international research has identified that the inequality in gender is the underlying cause of violence.

Treating both genders equally is the core solution. Gender-based violence is violence directed at an individual based on biological sex, gender identity or socially defined norms of masculinity and femininity. Women are disproportionately affected, as are those who identify as LGBTIQA+, women of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait background or those with a disability.

Respect is a fundamental part of gender equality as some of the attitudes, beliefs as well as excuses. As a society, we have developed a breeding ground for disrespect towards women and gender diverse peoples. Also their right to independence and equal status.

While not all men are violent, all violence begins with disrespect.

Key statistics on gender-based violence and inequality

  • On average, one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner.
  • 1 in 3 Australian women (30.5%) has experienced physical violence since the age of 15.
  • 1 in 5 Australian women (18.4%) has experienced sexual violence since the age of 15.
  • 1 in 4 Australian women (23.0%) has experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner.
  • Australian women are nearly three times more likely than men to experience violence from an intimate partner.
  • There is evidence that women with disability are more likely to experience violence.
  • 1 in 5 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women aged 15 and over has experienced physical violence in a 12-month period.
  • Lesbian, bisexual and heteroflexible women are at least twice as likely to experience physical violence by a partner than heterosexual, cisgender women.
  • Australia’s full-time gender pay gap is 14.0%, with women earning on average $241.50 per week less than men.
  • On average, women spend nearly 32 hours a week on household labour and caring for children, compared with nearly 19 hours by men.

Learn more at Quick Facts on the Our Watch website.

Attitudes and beliefs about violence against women

Unfortunately, there are still are a range of prevailing attitudes and beliefs that support some of the traditional views about violence against women. The video below is from Victorian Health and was based on findings from the 2017 NCAS (National Community Attitudes towards Violence against Women Survey).

Change the Story

Please watch the video below from Our Watch to understand the link between violence and gender inequality and how we can all help to 'Change The Story'.

Our Watch identifies five key actions to address the gendered drivers of violence against women and we can all engage in activities to support:

  • Challenge condoning of violence against women. Don’t justify, downplay or trivialise violence against women or their children and shift blame from the perpetrator to the victim.
  • Promote women’s independence and decision-making in public life and relationships. Support the equalisation of power and resources.
  • Foster positive personal identities and challenge gender stereotypes and roles. Reject traditional rigid roles and promote more positive forms of masculinity.
  • Strengthen positive, equal and respectful relations between and among women and men, girls and boys. Challenge peer relations between men that are hostile or disrespectful towards women. Promote positive and equal relationships.
  • Promote and normalise gender equality in public and private life. Support women’s participation in decision making and assess all policy impacts to ensure is truly inclusive.

Gender equality and men

Achieving gender equality is just as important for men. Recent research led by the men’s project at Jesuit Services has shown that men in the Man Box. Men who hold rigid beliefs and attitudes of what it means to be a man are 20 times more likely to sexually harass a woman. Six times more likely to use physical violence and more than twice as likely to experience suicidal thoughts.

The Man Box is a set of beliefs within and across society that place pressure on men to be a certain way. To be tough, not to show any emotions, to be the breadwinner, to always be in control, use violence to solve problems and to have many sexual partners.

Please watch the Man Box video below to see how sticking to rigid norms and stereotypes has been harmful for men and others, particularly women.

Support and resources

Internal support

  • Safer Community: If you have any concerns about unacceptable or concerning behaviour, our Safer Community service can help with advice, support and referrals.
  • Counselling support: Provides counselling support on a range of issues that may be affecting a person’s wellbeing and behaviour.
  • Men’s Wellbeing Support: A dedicated Men’s Wellbeing Co-ordinator to support men’s wellbeing needs.
  • La Trobe Out of Hours Support Line: For mental health and wellbeing concerns from 5.00 pm–9.00 am weeknights and weekends and public holidays.

Safer Community Factsheets:

External support

  • 1800 Respect: If you are worried or unsure about the signs of unhealthy, abusive or violent behaviour in any of your relationships you can contact 1800 Respect on: 1800 737 732 or through their online chat on their website.
  • Victoria Police: You can report or seek advice for non urgent events by phone or via online report. In an Emergency, contact: 000.
  • Our Watch: National leader in the primary prevention of violence against women and children with facts and resources to support gender equality.
  • Vic Health: Findings from the Australia's 2013 National Community Attitudes towards Violence Against Women Survey (NCAS).
  • The Man Box: A study on being a young man in Australia is the first comprehensive study that focuses on the attitudes to manhood and the behaviours of young Australian men aged 18 to 30.