GENDER RATIO A PROBLEMATIC SITUATION
ANOTHER year, another statistical release that shows the Territory is very much a man’s world, and stubbornly so. It is no secret it has proven a hard problem to crack for generations, and one that has implications for issues from population growth to social isolation and career opportunities. The ratio of women to men in the Territory has been an issue going back decades.
It is a handbrake on the economy and speaks to fundamental inequalities in the way our society is structured.
The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics data has shown there are 107.9 men in Darwin for every 100 women.
The results are more even outside of the capital, but nevertheless are an issue worth addressing.
It is a reflection of an economy reliant on industries where men have traditionally had more career opportunities than women.
Efforts to address this disparity of opportunities in certain professions have rightly become more high profile in recent years, however that has not done much to dent Darwin’s gender imbalance.
It is also a reminder that Darwin is in many ways much more isolated, especially for those who have family and friends back in the east.
In previous years a feeling of isolation has been cited as a major reason why women eventually move back to other capital cities. That certainly has not been helped by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has seen borders closed and opened repeatedly.
Addressing these feelings of isolation through greater inclusivity and promoting more cultural and social events on the Territory’s calendar will help entice people to stay longer.
A combination of borders easing as vaccination rates climb and more opportunities in corporate and government roles in coming years will also assist in lessening the isolation problem, potentially meaning more women to move and stay in the Territory.
But what is necessary now is a shared vision from all parts of the Territory’s society on how these opportunities can be created or encouraged.
The benefits of addressing this gender imbalance will take years if not decades to be realised, but if successful, will help the Territory better cope with other problems such as the boom-bust cycle, population decline and gender pay disparities.