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Welcome to Gender Studies 101

It's hard to believe that in this day and age there still exist young, well-educated Australians who believe that male entitlement does not exist and that the gender pay gap does not exist.

It seems some people would benefit from a little education on the topic. Can anyone tell me if gender studies are taught in high school these days? From what I can gleam, it is not. However, I am a long way away from high school, not having been involved with secondary education since I left in 1995. Back then, psychology was not even an option.

The subjects I studied in year 12 VCE, in order of favourite to least, were Studio Art, Physics, Mathematical Methods, English and Accounting. If Psychology or Gender studies had been on the table I would have dropped Accounting like a hot potato, which is funny considering that I am now a Chartered Accountant.

Regardless of my subject choices, I am a person who loves numbers and since I left secondary education behind, there have been an increasing number of studies related to gender issues. So lets have a look at the cold hard statistics that separate the sexes. Welcome to Introductory Gender Studies 101.

Topic 1: Factual Gender Differences

1. The gender pay gap is real. It's been proven by many separate studies across different countries and industries. The indisputable fact is that it exists, although to what extent differs depending on what study you looking at.

2. Men commit more crime. 90% of homicides are by men and 80% of all violent crime is committed by men. Men commit more crime in every category except property theft. Resources that go into the police force, the court system, crime detection, crime prevention, re-education, jail time, parole time, juvenile detention time, are resources predominately spent on protecting society from men who break the rules. We don’t talk about crime like it’s a men’s issue, but it is.

3. Men are more likely to commit suicide in most countries around the world. However women are three times more likely to attempt suicide. So what does that tell us? Men are better at killing themselves.

4. Women are more likely to be victims of sexual abuse, domestic violence, child marriages and sex slavery. 83% of reported sexual assault victims in Australia in 2014 were female. Studies show that nearly one in four women have experienced violence at the hand of a spouse or a boyfriend, and that one in ten women have experienced stalking (double the rate experienced by men). These are facts. And who are the perpetrators of these crimes? (See fact no.2 if you are unsure).

5. Men interrupt women. Researchers consistently find that women are interrupted more and that men dominate conversations and decision-making, in corporate offices, town meetings, school boards and the United States Senate. Studies show that men are three times more likely to interrupt women than men.

6. Women are more likely to be judged on their appearance. Research found that grooming practices, such as applying makeup, clothes and hair styling, accounted for nearly all of the salary differences between women. For men, grooming didn't have the same impact. In other words, whilst grooming is important for both sexes, it’s materially important for women in the workforce.

7. An estimated 4% of Australia’s population have an eating disorder and roughly 90% are women.

8. Women live longer, worldwide. In Australia life expectancy is around 80 years for males and 84 years for females. “Pretty much at every age, women seem to survive better than men,” says Steven Austad, an international expert on ageing.

9. Women make babies. A human embryo can be manufactured in a laboratory using frozen sperm so the father’s attendance is not required. However, as yet, it is impossible for a baby to be formed without the use of a woman’s womb for 6 months or more. Make of that what you will, but to me it says that the female sex is much more valuable when it comes to the creation of life and the continuation of our species.

It’s seems amazing that in many countries women’s freedoms are restricted: where they go, what they wear and what they learn. Based on the information above, it makes more sense to restrict men’s freedom since they are the greater threat to others and themselves. This however, is just my personal suggestion and not part of my 101 Introductory Gender Studies.

Here are some Australian specific gender related facts:

10. Sex slavery and illegal child marriages are happening now in Australia. Some reports estimate that hundreds of child marriages are occurring each year, although the first successful prosecution occurred only this year.

11. Australian women are currently more likely to graduate from university than their male counterparts. There are 20% more female graduates and 55% of current university students are female.

12. The current gender pay gap is estimated to be 16% based on Average Weekly Full Time Earnings. Women in their twenties working full-time in 2013 could expect to take home an average of 15% less in weekly wages than their male counterparts compared to 8% in 2003.

13. Australian women retire with nearly half of what men do. Data compiled by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency shows the superannuation gap is 46.6%. This means the average Australian man retires with $197,054 while the average woman retires with just $104,734. Reasons for this difference include the gender pay gap and the fact the women are more likely to take time off from paid work to raise families and care for others.

14. One in five recent mothers will experience a mild to severe form of post-natal depression. Raising kids is hard work (just my personal opinion and not a proven statistical fact).

So what does all this mean for Australian women? Well, for starters it means that women are more likely to be the victims of sexual and violent crimes whilst men are the perpetrators. It means that women are disadvantaged in the workforce due to discrimination, despite the fact that they are equally well educated. Biological differences mean that women take time off work to make babies and care for children. And finally, women live longer and have less money to retire on.

These are proven statements that support the existence of male entitlement and gender imbalance. Until the majority of Australians can acknowledge this, change will be slow. Perhaps we should start with compulsory Gender Studies in high school. A few eye-opening facts can make a big difference to someone's outlook.

And on a final note, consider this:

  • The laws that govern society and protect women are not perfect. They have been written by men over the centuries, with little input from women.

  • The Bible, and other religious texts, were written by men and not by God. Men are not infallible. Statements such as “God created man in his own image” come off as self-serving and somewhat biased. Just saying.

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