Over 75 per cent of young women have been the subject of sexist comments and 49 per cent have said that sexism is a factor influencing their career paths, according to a major new Auspoll survey commissioned by child rights organisation Plan International Australia.
Almost half of the 1,000 girls and women (aged 14 – 25) surveyed said they believe sexism in Australia is actually growing.
Only 1 per cent said they would consider taking on a career in politics, a finding that highlights the Representation of women in Australian parliaments 2014 paper released in July, which revealed that women only make up one-third of all parliamentarians and one-fifth of all ministers.
Plan International Australia CEO Ian Wishart said he was “genuinely shocked” by the results of the Auspoll survey.
“The fact that fewer than one per cent of them dream of a life in politics does not bode well for a future in which women can take their places in the corridors of power,” Mr Wishart said.
“Our perception in this country is that girls in the developing world are subject to sexism and injustice. It is sobering to discover that girls and young women in Australia can often feel equally limited and constrained.”
The survey findings were released in the lead up to the United Nations’ International Day of the Girl Child, which will take place on October 11. The U.N. says the day was created in order to recognise “the importance of investing in and empowering girls during adolescence and preventing and eliminating the various forms of violence they experience.”
The theme of this year’s International Day of the Girl Child is Empowering Adolescent Girls: Ending the Cycle of Violence.
“While the results are unfortunately not surprising in a general sense – the extent to which respondents identify sexism as a factor in a political career really is depressing,” ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher wrote on her website.
“Women politicians do make a difference and they can change people’s perceptions of politics – they also change the structural discrimination of old style political system and parliamentary conventions. If we are to continue to enhance Australian parliamentary systems women must be part of that and there is no reason why they shouldn’t be 50 per cent of the equation.”