What WA thinks about equal opportunity
This year the Commission ran its triennial community survey to gauge the attitudes of the Western Australian community on discrimination, harassment, the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (the Act) and the work of the Commission.
This year’s survey found community awareness of the Commission and the Act had gone up to 82 percent since 2015 when it dropped to 76.5 percent, especially among men.
As in previous years the most common source of awareness of equal opportunity or discrimination topics was through the media, with 35 percent of respondents saying their awareness came from television and radio, 13 percent from print media and 10 percent from social media which increased from 8 percent in 2015.
Interestingly, in 2018 respondents have become more likely to mention specific examples of discrimination rather than specific media organisations that made them aware of discrimination.
In 2018 a relatively high portion of respondents mentioned ‘through AFL/sports’. Perhaps reflecting themes covered in sports such as race discrimination, sexuality and gender now that the AFL women’s league and the success of women’s cricket and soccer has brought issues such as the pay gap into the forefront.
Perception of community concern for equal opportunity and human rights issues among respondents has decreased since the last survey with 36 percent saying the community was only a little concerned about these issues.
Only 44 percent of respondents felt the community was very concerned which is lower than 2015 when 53 percent found the community to be very concerned about equal opportunity and human rights.
Personal concern has also decreased with 49 percent mentioning they felt ‘quite or very concerned’, compared to 60 percent in 2015.
Of those who were concerned, respondents gave the following reasons ‘everyone should be treated equally’ (13 percent), ‘discrimination and human rights violations happen’ (12 percent), ‘gender inequality and workplace wages’ (12 percent) and ‘asylum seekers and immigration issues’ (10 percent).
Of those who weren’t concerned, their main reasons were ‘too much media hype/political correctness about it’ (22 percent), ‘not affected by these issues personally’ (21 percent), ‘Australia has a good record with human rights’ (19 percent) and ‘I don’t think that much about it’ (12 percent).
When asked which groups are most discriminated against 34 percent said women, followed by Aboriginal people at 32 percent, people in ethnic minority backgrounds were nominated by 29 percent, gay, lesbian and transgender persons were also 29 percent and people with a disability were 26 percent.