Guest Article - Measuring women's progress

On Monday 23 September 2019, the 2019 WA Women’s Report Card was launched.

There are more than 1.3 million women and girls in Western Australia, making up 50 per cent of our population. The Women's Report Card presents a summary of key measures that relate to the current situation of women in our state. Developed for the Department of Communities by the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre the report card is the sixth in a series of indicator reports, and for the first time, includes an interactive data platform which can be found at http://wawomen.org.au/.

A critical step in advancing gender equality is to provide reliable information to inform discussion and support advocacy. The report provides facts on the status of Western Australian women in the priority areas of health and wellbeing, safety and justice, economic independence and leadership. The issues raised in the report will be of interest to both women and men and cover a broad range of topics such as life expectancy and lifestyle behaviours, community leadership and social norms and attitudes. Some of the figures have remained relatively unchanged over the periods reported, for example women continue to have consistently higher university enrolment levels relative to men and represent around 59% of all domestic university students in WA. However, some figures impacting on women have changed dramatically over time such as the teenage pregnancy rate which has decreased by more than 50 per cent between 2002 and 2015.

The aim of the report is to showcase and celebrate the progress made towards gender equality; raise awareness of the barriers that still exist to women's progress and provide an evidence base to inform the development of policies, services and programs.

It is important to note that not all women are affected by gender inequality in the same way. While the Report Card does not cover all groups in detail it does address intersectionality with a particular focus on women from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds and also compares indicators for some women’s outcomes in WA with that of women across other states and territories in Australia.

It is recognised that gender equality makes good business sense, increases productivity and benefits women, families, community and the economy. The Department of Communities is currently developing a Women’s Plan for the next 10 years which will outline actions for Government and the corporate and community sectors to take to address the complex issues faced by Western Australian women. To stay updated on the Women’s Plan visit www.communities.wa.gov.au/wa-have-your-say/womens-plan

For more information and to access the Women’s Report Card, visit Communities website.

Acknowledgement of Country

The Committee For Perth acknowledges the traditional custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and community. We pay our respects to all members of the Aboriginal communities and their cultures; and to Elders both past and present.