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In Numbers: What Australian Women Are Up Against This International Women's Day

A snapshot of the good, the bad and the ugly.

08/03/2017 9:40 AM AEDT | Updated 08/03/2017 4:28 PM AEDT
Ken Hermann
Pulled from all directions.

More than 100 hundred years ago, International Women's Day was set up to highlight the injustices faced by women. And to celebrate our ongoing feats.

There has been progress, much in recent decades. However in 2017, the campaign is calling on all of us to #BeBoldForChange every day; to refute the notion of gender equality that still pervades (and for some, haunts) almost every aspect of a woman's life.

Here are a few of them (we'll let the stats speak for themselves).

The gender pay gap

Indeed in 2017, a working woman at the top of her game is receiving play money when compared to her male co-worker. Australia's latest gender equality scorecard revealed women face a 23 per cent pay gap, or 77 percent of a man's income -- a disparity that remains even if a women does exactly the same work as a male colleague in the same workplace.

And this grows up the top, climbing to 26.5 percent among those in managerial positions. We've dived into these figures (and what to do about them) here.

ChristianChan
Women earn 77 percent of men's average full-time income.

Women at work

We're told that the stubborn pay gap is slowly improving. Meanwhile, the Fair Work Commission's recent slashing of penalty rates is hurting women the most and this level of pay, combined with interrupted work histories, is leaving a huge gap in superannuation contributions.

According to analysis of the latest data from the Australian Tax Office, released by Industry Super Australia on Wednesday, women working for wages and eligible for SG contributions were underpaid $1.84 billion by their employers in 2013-14.

That's an average underpayment of $1,550.

Women already struggle with the gender pay gap that has barely shifted for two decades and an earnings-linked super system that shows no forgiveness for people with interrupted work histories. Sarah Saunders, Industry Super public affairs manager

And the gap widens for those nearing retirement. Around 50 percent of women aged 55-64 and working for wages had less than $94,050 and 30 percent had less than $53,760, comparable to men with $154,300 and $83,050 consecutively.

This grim picture stands in the face of companies who are being pressured to add more women to their boards ... by even bigger corporates.

Take State Street Global Advisors, the world's third largest asset manager. This International Women's Day, the multi trillion investor has installed a bronze statue of a defiant girl in front of Wall Street's charging bull to advocate their stance towards gender equality at work.

Brendan McDermid / Reuters
This is what we're up against.

State Street will begin voting against boards if a company fails to take steps to increase its female membership. And they mean business.

On a smaller scale, women in small business also mean business. According to new research released on Wednesday by Facebook, 65 million small business pages are active globally on Facebook in 2016 and 40 percent of these are run by women. This is a 60 percent increase from last year.

Domestic violence

At home, women face an even greater risk.

At least one Australian woman is killed each week by a current or former partner, with one in four experienced physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner.

These are stats that we know. Here they are again, from advocacy group Our Watch:

  • One in three Australian women has experienced physical violence since the age of 15;
  • One in five Australian has experienced sexual violence;
  • One in four Australian women has experienced physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner;
  • One in four Australian women has experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner;
  • Women are at least three times more likely than men to experience violence from an intimate partner;
  • Women are five times more likely than men to require medical attention or hospitalisation due to intimate partner violence and five times more likely to report fearing for their lives;
  • Of those women, more than half have children in their care.

Australia has a huge problem with domestic violence. Here's what domestic violence groups, stakeholders and agencies are insisting on to change that.

Mental health

Whilst awareness is improving and stigma is reducing, the Australian Health Policy Collaboration (AHPC) believes the female experience of mental illness is a gendered risk that remains poorly understood.

Mental health disorders are the leading cause of disability for women in Australia, with approximately 43 percent having experienced mental illness. Unsurprisingly, the highest rates are among those aged between 16 and 24.

"Gender-blind policy and service provision stems from incomplete analyses and understanding of causes and consequences and, as a result leads to poor targeting of resources and poor health outcomes."Dr Maria Duggan, AHPC

A paper released by the AHPC on Wednesday shows the social and economic consequences of the "gender-blindness of current mental health policy". From reduced life expectancy to reduced productivity and increased costs of healthcare and welfare, these are significantly different to those experienced by men.

Dr Duggan is calling on the Federal Government to address these gendered needs and boost prevention, treatment and management programs that target women.

WireImage
In an industry that lends itself to narcissism, Ngaiire is on the right side of cool.

Women in the arts

Let's take a snapshot at the music industry -- one that continues to be dominated by men across almost all levels. But according to Triple J Hack's second annual 'Girls To The Front' investigation, it's not all bad news for gender equality in 2017.

Here are some developments.

When we take a look back at 2015, slightly more women are managing independent record labels and sitting on public boards of peak music bodies in 2016. More women were nominated for Triple J's annual J Award and music festival 'Listen Out' has narrowed its gender balance from the 91 percent representing male acts to 65 percent.

The news is less promising in other areas. In 2016, only one in five works written by APRA members were by women, with the percentage of male artist nominations for the APRA AMCOS awards jumping from 54 to 63 percent. And unlike 'Listen Out', Groovin' The Moo's lineup saw more male acts on stage.

Where is the noise?

It's everywhere.

Amid the figures, 2017 has seen a powerful show of women who are making noise to have their rights heard. Here are the online moments when those voices have been the loudest.

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