Gender equality tracked as one in three men raise doubt
Australia's progress on gender equality will be formally monitored to help women overcome major hurdles, including why almost one in three men refuse to believe problems exist.
The federal government report card has been unveiled on International Women's Day but frontline services warn more pressing priorities are being ignored.
The figures released on Wednesday confirmed:
* Twice as many women than men have experienced sexual harassment;
* Women over 55 are the fastest growing homeless group;
* A 13.3 per cent gender pay gap exists for full-time weekly wages; and
* Women do nine hours more unpaid work per week compared to men.
These factors contribute to Australia being ranked 43rd in the world for gender equality.
Making the challenge greater, 30 per cent of Australian men don't believe inequality between the sexes exists compared to the global average of 21 per cent.
Two new statues of Australia's first federal female politicians, Dame Dorothy Tangney and Dame Enid Lyons, were unveiled in Canberra on Wednesday but advocates say women in distress need more than kind gestures.
Everybody's Home campaign spokeswoman Maiy Azize urged the government to "put its money where its mouth is".
"The simple truth is women cannot escape violence if they have nowhere to go - that's why we see thousands of women going back to violent homes every year, while so many others are forced into homelessness," she said.
"We need to see more than words and platitudes. Campaigns about family and domestic violence need to be backed up with a major boost to social housing."
Full Stop Australia chief executive Hayley Foster said the government needed to make a greater commitment to women's safety.
"Every week, another woman is being murdered and sexual and domestic violence are the fastest growing serious crimes in the country," she said.
Elsewhere, workplace inequality means women ending up with 23.1 per cent less superannuation than men the same age on average.
With a 13.3 per cent average pay gap, they are also effectively working seven weeks of the year for free, based on the salary of full-time employees.
The disparity exists even in professions dominated by women, such as child care (96.6 per cent), nursing (86.9 per cent) and primary school teaching (79.9 per cent).
Australian College of Nursing Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward said in health care, women often were paid much less an hour than men because they were more likely in part-time or less senior roles.
"Gender pay gaps are a reflection of the way we value women's and men's contributions in the workforce," she said.
Women's Minister Katy Gallagher said the federal government was committed to making gender equality a national priority.
"The reality is, while we are making some gains we are not there yet and, in some aspects of women's lives, progress has stalled," she said.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese noted more than half of the Labor caucus were women.
"It is so good we have a government that's actually representative of the population," Mr Albanese said.
He said cheaper childcare, additional parental and domestic violence leave and women's housing initiatives were evidence of what could be achieved.
A national strategy on women's equality will be released later this year.