More than two-thirds of girls and young women believe gender inequality remains a persistent problem in Australia and only 8% believe they are always treated equally to boys.
Plan International Australia (PIA) and Our Watch surveyed 600 girls and young women aged between 15 and 19 on their inexperiences of inequality between December 2015 and February 2016.
‘Less than 10 percent of Australian girls feel they are always treated equally to boys.’
The findings, released on Tuesday for the International Day of the Girl, show that more than two-thirds (69%) thought gender inequality was a problem in Australia, even as the same proportion agreed that they had more opportunities than their mothers' generation.
Just 8% felt they were always treated equally to boys, and only one in six said they were always given the same opportunities to succeed.
PIA youth ambassador Sherry-Rose Watts, 20, says she was disappointed but not shocked by the results as they reflect her own experience of "not being given a fair go" as a young woman. "When I hear someone say something to me on the street, when I see women in government or media being shamed and ridiculed because of their appearance, that is all affecting the way my sisters, my cousins and my peers see themselves, and that's a problem," Ms Watts told.
The wide-reaching, reactive impact of this inequality was evident in 23% agreeing with the statement that "girls should not travel alone on public transport" and nearly one-third that "girls should not be out in public places after dark".
Researchers said this suggested that respondents had internalised victim-blaming beliefs that the onus was on them to modify their behaviour to prevent sexual assault.
Young women also experienced gender inequality at home, with more than a third (36%) saying their brothers or other boys seldom or never did their equal share of the housework.
More than 40% said lack of support for working parents, such as parental leave and affordable childcare, would impact their decision to start a family of their own.
PIA deputy chief executive Susanne Legena said despite girls citing school as the place they feel most equal, half of those surveyed said they are seldom or never valued for their brains over their looks.