International Women's Day: Ballarat and Grampians gender equality a slow process

Time's up: A Women's Health Grampians report titled 'Gender Equality in the Grampians Region'  shows that gender equality across a number of fields will not be reached any time soon, if current rates of change continue. Graphic: Women's Health Grampians
Time's up: A Women's Health Grampians report titled 'Gender Equality in the Grampians Region' shows that gender equality across a number of fields will not be reached any time soon, if current rates of change continue. Graphic: Women's Health Grampians

A ‘damning’ report into gender equality in the Grampians shows the region may not reach gender parity in unpaid domestic work for another hundred years. 

Women’s Health Grampians (WHG) released the ‘Gender Equality in the Grampians Region’ report yesterday, with today marking International Women’s Day. 

It shows that local women are over-represented in unpaid domestic work and childcare, but underrepresented on councils, in management and as legislators. 

While women are completing secondary and tertiary education at higher levels then men, it’s not translating into the workforce. More than 46 per cent of women are earning below minimum wage in the Grampians, compared to just over 33 per cent of men. 

Men in the region are also twice as likely to have full time employment as women. 

Women’s Health Grampians’ Marianne Hendron said there was a “real potential” to increase the rate of progress, using the report as a baseline for measuring improvement. 

“Women are so concentrated in terms of lower paid and unpaid work, really that’s where the greatest issues lie,” she said. 

Ms Hendron said the disparity often comes from stereotypes around child-raising, but it shouldn’t mean women end up with less superannuation and savings.

More than 75 organisations are part of the Communities of Respect and Equality (CoRE) alliance, created by WHG in 2016 to help prevent violence against women in the Grampians.

Pyrenees Shire Council’s director of corporate and community services Evan King said the report highlighted that there was “plenty to do” in the charge toward gender equality. 

“The evidence in it is damning and it’s incredibly sobering, but on the other hand, we need to celebrate that Women’s Health Grampians have actually collated this report,” Mr King said. 

The evidence in it is damning and it’s incredibly sobering, but on the other hand, we need to celebrate that Women’s Health Grampians have actually collated this report.

Evan King, Pyrenees Shire Council

“I think there’s a whole range of things we can do as a council to try and address that [management inequality], whether it’s flexible working arrangements, being able to work from home or how we advertise.”