Girls in Australia should be growing up believing anything is possible – that they have choices and opportunities in their lives to shape the world they want to live in. Instead, many are forced to abandon their leadership aspirations out of concern for their own safety in Parliament.
Sadly, after a spate of reports of sexual misconduct, alleged rape, and women being victim-blamed, talked over and side-lined in our national parliament, women are increasingly disinterested in pursuing political careers. In 2017 Plan International Australia, the charity for girls’ equality, undertook a major research project called She Can Lead, surveying 2,000 Australian girls and young women about their aspirations for the future.
It found 56% of respondents thought female politicians were treated unfairly. Now, in new polling Plan International Australia conducted in April 2021 of 507 young women aged 18-25, that figure has increased dramatically: 73% of young Australian women aged 18-21 do not believe that women in politics are treated equally to men; rising to almost 78% among women aged 22 to 25.