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Gender Equality

According to Our Watch “Gender equality – involves equality of opportunity and equality of results. It includes the redistribution of resources and responsibilities between men and women and the transformation of the underlying causes and structures of gender inequality to achieve substantive equality. It is about recognising diversity and disadvantage to ensure equal outcomes for all, and therefore often requires women-specific programs and policies to end existing inequalities”.

An intersectional approach to preventing violence against women is:

An examination of how other forms of structural inequality and oppression, such as racism, colonisation, ethnocentrism, ableism, class privilege, and heterosexism, homophobia and transphobia, intersect with gender inequality and oppression to exacerbate violence against women. Fundamentally, this approach requires us to consider how structural inequalities and identities intersect and interact, in order to effectively address the underlying drivers of, and contributors to, violence against all women, across the diversity of the Australian population.

The key drivers of violence against women are expressions of gender inequality, but gender inequality is not experienced the same way by all women, nor expressed the same way in all contexts. The probability of violence against women is higher when the consequences of gender inequality intersect with the impact of other forms of inequality and discrimination (e.g. racism, colonisation and dispossession, discrimination against people with disabilities, on the basis of sexual orientation, or gender identity).

An intersectional approach to the prevention of violence against women acknowledges this diversity of lived experience, and that there is no ‘one size fits all’ strategy for prevention.

Primary Prevention

The National Plan defines primary prevention as: Working to change the underlying causes of the problem in the different environments where people live and work. Strategies such as social marketing, school-based programs or working to promote positive and equitable workplace cultures, are all examples of primary prevention. Primary prevention includes changing behaviours and attitudes and building the awareness and skills of individuals. The central focus of work in primary prevention is on strategies that address the underlying structural and cultural drivers of violence against women.

Primary prevention aims for social transformation on a scale that will create a safe and equal world for women and girls. Primary prevention makes preventing violence everyone’s responsibility and asserts that we all have a role to play in changing the culture, structures, and attitudes that drive violence against women.

Primary prevention aims to challenge attitudes, and requires changing the social conditions, such as gender inequality, that excuse, justify or even promote violence against women and their children. Examples of primary prevention activities include schools-based programs to create gender-equitable environments and build students’ relationships skills, efforts to reduce the disrespectful portrayal of women in the media, comprehensive public education and social marketing campaigns, and workplace initiatives promoting positive bystander responses.

Unconscious Bias

There are different types of unconscious bias that affect our decision making. These include:

  • Affinity / In-group bias may lead recruiters to prioritise candidates who are similar to themselves.
  • Confirmation bias is the tendency to focus on information that confirms initial impressions of a candidate.
  • Groupthink can occur when members of a recruitment panel feel pressure to conform with the decision of other panel members.
  • Halo effect may lead recruiters to focus on salient pieces of information and this may influence the perception of other elements of a candidate’s application.
  • Status quo bias can occur when recruiters opt for the ‘safer’ choice of recruiting a candidate that is similar to previously hired candidates.


Violence against Women and their Children (VAW)

“The term VAW means any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.”

Children’s exposure to domestic and family violence has become a prominent policy issue comparatively recently. In the past two decades, empirical evidence about the extent to which children are exposed to domestic and family violence and the negative effect this has on their development, has created an impetus for policy responses to this issue. Such responses are also reflected in the recognition that exposure to family violence is a form of child abuse in some state and territory child protection frameworks, the Australian Government’s National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009–2020 (COAG, 2009b), and the federal Family Law Act 1975 (Cth).

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