WATCH THE GAP: Women fire up over inequality, safety fears

WOMEN across Queensland are living in fear as male violence continues to dominate their lives.

That's the resounding outcome of a recent survey that found domestic, family and sexual violence is the key gender inequality concern of females across the state.

More than 500 women used the comments section in the Queensland Government's Women's Strategy questionnaire to tell power brokers Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Minister for Women Shannon Fentiman about their concerns.

Of the 591 state-wide survey respondents, 548 were women.

Female leadership roles, employment and the gender pay gap were also major worries.

A Currajong resident in her 30s said just going for a run by herself was impossible because "I don't think there will ever be a way to guarantee it is totally safe to do so".

Another young regional Queenslander echoed that view, saying male attacks were so common that she was too scared to leave her house after dark.

"It's worrying and makes me feel unsafe to the point that I don't go to certain areas or leave my house unlocked or open due to this," she wrote.

"It shouldn't be like this."

A Central Queensland resident said men would not stop attacking females until gender equality was addressed.

"Gender equality is important to the Queensland community because the personal safety of women is now a national emergency," the middle-aged woman said.

Ms Fentiman said the government was determined to fix gender issues in regional areas.

"I would love it if we didn't need a Women's Strategy, but with the gender pay gap now higher than 20 years ago, alarming levels of violence towards women and greater barriers to work for women than men, it is clear more action is needed," Ms Fentiman said.

"We know that there are particular issues for regional women in terms of access to services, and often options to access leadership opportunities are more limited than in metropolitan areas.

"Our strategy … will benefit regional women as we develop our campaign to promote gender equality."

She said it would involve auditing gender pay inequity and a fund for improving women's access to non-traditional careers, including the mining and resources sector.

* For 24-hour domestic violence support, call the national hotline 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732. 

Government seeks gender balance through five-year equality blueprint

A NEW state-wide strategy aims to make life more balanced for Queensland's female population.

The 32-page blueprint, released on Wednesday, outlines how the Queensland Government plans to improve the long-term outlook for girls and women.

Females make up 50.2% of the state's population, but fall short in a multitude of areas, including wages, superannuation and personal safety.

The five-year strategy targets the gender pay gap and employment barriers, looks to put more women on government boards, and continues the state's push to eradicate domestic and family violence.

The strategy commits the government to getting more women into male-dominated careers, working out the "true" cost of the gender pay gap on our community, improving education and employment support for vulnerable young women, rolling out a male-focused equality education and promotion campaign, and appointing gender equality champions.

"When Queensland women achieve, Queensland succeeds," Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.

"Queensland has a wealth of talented women, and we want to tap into that talent. By increasing the opportunities for women in the workforce, we also strengthen our economy." - ARM NEWSDESK


The Queensland Government asked women to share their gender inequality concerns. These are some of the responses:

  • "Achieving gender equality is important to the Queensland community because you would have relationships and families that were healthy and happy, and reduced domestic and family violence incidences." - Cairns resident
  • "All violence against women and girls needs to be addressed. Women should feel safe everywhere. I, for one, would love to feel safe to go for a run on my own." - Currajong resident
  • "Gender equality is important to the Queensland community because the personal safety of women is now a national emergency." - Barmundu resident
  • "I don't think men understand and therefore appreciate safety from a woman's point of view. For example, as a woman, I am always conscious that a man can easily overpower me - something I may feel keenly if I am by myself and in proximity to a male; and if it's dark and no one else is around, then that feeling is multiplied." - Mackay resident

Source: Queensland Government Women's Strategy survey.

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