3. What is the difference between gender equity and gender equality (and what does this have to do with violence against women)?

Many of us have heard the terms gender equality and gender equity but might not know what these terms mean, the difference between the two, or how they relate to men’s violence against women.

In short, gender equality describes the achievement of equal outcomes for women, men and gender diverse people. Gender equity describes the process we need to undertake to achieve gender equality, by being fair to women and men. This approach recognises that, due to historical and social disadvantages women and gender diverse people are not in the same ‘starting position’ as men. As such, treating women, gender diverse people and men equally might not actually be fair, and can create further disadvantage.  Gender equity measures are often required to redress the imbalance and level the playing field.

This illustration demonstrates the difference between equality and equity.

Gender inequality is recognised internationally as a root cause of men’s violence against women.

  • Watch this three-minute clip from Gippsland Women’s Health and this clip from Our Watch to hear more about the link between gender inequality and men’s violence against women and the actions we can take to redress this.
  • Check out this infographic – it provides a snapshot of gender inequality in Australia in 2018

Take a look at this helpful guide which explains the link between gender inequality and violence against women and suggests practical ways for community members to take action!

How does it help?

While many Australians support gender equality there is less understanding of the importance of gender equity in achieving this. Given that we now know that gender inequality is the root cause of men’s violence against women, any steps that you take to better understand this, and to help others to understand how they can increase gender equality, will help to prevent men’s violence against women.

Keep going!

In late 2016, Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins travelled all over Australia to explore our progress towards achieving gender equality. You can read about what she found and the Commission’s thoughts on how we can create a more gender equal country here.

Find out more about gender inequality in Australia, via  the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Face the Facts webpage

Take a look at this cute infographic that shows what gender equity looks like in everyday life.


Please note that these clips/articles contain information regarding the topics of sexism, gender inequality and violence against women. If you find the information distressing, please click through for information and support on self care. If you or someone you know is experiencing violence, please visit the our help section for further information and support.