Categories: News and Resources

Katie Ferro


March 8th this month brought with it the 44th commemoration of International Women’s Day since its first celebration by the United Nations in 1977. To celebrate the occasion, we reached out to our Australia wide panel and asked 200 of our respondents to share their opinion. Our Soapbox panel members were engaged to help us better understand how Australia compares internationally in supporting gender equality and supporting women in our society.

Of the 200 respondents engaged for this study, we had a 50/50 split between men and women – giving us an insight into the separate views by gender! Similarly, the age range for this survey spread from 18 to 85+ years old, with the majority (44%) falling into the 40-59-year-old age range, better known as Generation X.

There are plenty of Women in the world, both past and present, who can be labelled as inspirational. The responses we received from our panel, when asked to name their Top 5, reflected this variety. Our Soapbox panel took inspiration from young female activists such as Greta Thunberg and Malala Yousafzi, and historical figureheads such as Joan of Arc. The five most mentioned inspirational Women covered areas from medicine to politics and entertainment– including Marie Curie, Mother Teresa, Jacinda Ardern and Oprah Winfrey. The only non-public figure to make this top five, was ‘Mum’ – perhaps not one singular person, but a source of inspiration for many.

While the current New Zealand Prime Minister received plaudits, so too did Julia Gillard when respondents were asked to name the most inspirational Australian Women of all time, with 12.5% sharing that the former PM has helped pave the way for Women in politics.

Australia can generally be considered a progressive nation – a place of opportunity and a ‘fair go’ for all. Yet there are still several topics that are attached to the issue – we wanted to know how our Soapbox panel members rated Australia in terms of progression of some of these issues.

37.5% of respondents viewed that Australia has progressed either well or very well in having more women in senior leadership positions; with all of these positive responses coming from all age ranges and 60% of them from Males. An even greater 49.5% of respondents also believed that the nation has progressed significantly on creating employment opportunities for Women in previously Male dominated industries, with this positive opinion coming from a roughly even split of both genders.

48.5% of respondents believed that Australia is a progressive nation when it comes to supporting expectant and new mothers within the workforce, while a considerable 68.5% believed that Australian women’s sports media coverage and attendance was also a topic of great progression achieved within the country.

Yet when it comes to division of labour at home between men and women, 63.5% of our panel believe that we have not progressed far enough, with 6% claiming we have not progressed at all. Responses were evenly split between our male and female respondents.

As was the belief with home duty labour division, there is still a strong opinion from our panel, 64% of them to be exact, that Australia has not experienced great progression about equal pay for men and women. This opinion is clearly reflective of the salary debates that continue to rage over sports, entertainment and several other industries.

While these results seem to ultimately portray Australia as quite a progressive nation in its support for Women within its societies, how do we compare to other nations around the world? Quite well! 7.5% of responses claimed Australia was the most progressive nation when it comes to gender equality and support for women in society, with Sweden leading the race with 11%, and the USA and NZ gaining 8.5% and 7% of responses respectively.

Conversely, those countries which were considered the least progressive were Saudi Arabia, India and Iran making up the bottom 3.

When asked what Australia still needed to do to better support the women in our society, the most common response from our panel highlighted the issues surrounding equal pay.

So as the month comes to an end, we salute the strong and inspirational Women figures around the world and consider ourselves fortunate to live in a nation that continues to make inroads for the true equality of women in our society.

These findings were gathered from the Soapbox International Women’s Day survey.