98% of Australian girls say they receive unequal treatment to boys.
That's the finding of a Plan International 'Dream Gap' study which surveyed 1,745 girls aged 10 to 17 on whether they had experienced inequality or gender stereotyping.
The results also revealed that women's confidence decreases as they age – 93% of 15 to 17-year-olds answering affirmatively when asked whether it would be easier to get ahead if they weren't judged on their appearance.
In September the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that women are more likely to have a university degree than men, but still earn approximately 89 cents to a man's dollar.
Key findings: The Dream Gap report
- At all ages, in all spaces, girls don’t think they are treated equally to boys. Almost all (98%) of girls surveyed said boys and girls receive unequal treatment this is most profound in sports, followed by in the media (TV and magazines), at school and at home.
- After inequality, girls are most concerned with being scrutinised by the way they look rather than appreciated for their abilities and talents. Almost all (93%) of girls aged 15-17 said it would be easier to get ahead in life if they were not judged on their appearance.
- A large number of girls surveyed felt it would be easier to get ahead if they were treated the same way as boys are (91%).
- As girls get older, their confidence decreases – from 56 per cent of girls viewing themselves as confident at 10, to 44 per cent by the time they reach 17. And it’s a sharper decline to just 27% as they enter adulthood (18-25).
- 40% of girls think gender is the single biggest barrier to their chances of becoming a leader.
- Above all else, girls just want to be treated as equals. When asked what change they want to see in the world, 50% of girls aged 10 to 14 in this survey said – unprompted – gender equality, including equal pay.
- Young men agree they have a role to play to support young women to lead (59% agree) however they are less likely to say seeing more women in power is important to them (50% agree).
"There are very few women in the cabinet; ASX boards have more men named John and Peter than women," said Deputy CEO Sussane Legena.
"What are you saying? You're saying 'you are sort of valued, but not as much as all these other guys.'"
The organisation is calling on the government to take a number of measures including a country-wide ban on sexist advertising, industry regulations to ban photoshopped images of women, mandatory government-implemented non-gendered school uniform policies and gender pay audits for corporations.
They're also hoping to remove the stigma around the feminist movement.
“What we’re saying to parents is tell your girl you are a feminist, and that she needs to be one as well. There’s a movement that she is a part of, it’s been going on for a long time but it needs more," said Legena.
Plan International is using the hashtag #girlstakeover to commemorate the day.