Groundbreaking Gender Compass research set to shift the conversation
Plan International Australia has undertaken a first-of-its-kind research project, led by Dr Rebecca Huntley, that segments the broad Australian public into six groups based on their attitudes, behaviours and policy preferences in relation to gender equality. Supported by the Trawalla Foundation and other donors, it can be used by communicators, advocates and changemakers to meet people where they are, rather than where we think they should be, writes the Trawalla Foundation’s chair Carol Schwartz AO (pictured above).
I strongly believe that optimising outcomes for Australia (and globally) hinges on achieving gender equality. As the Chair of the Trawalla Foundation and Women’s Leadership Institute Australia, I have been focused on finding the best levers for change to achieve equal voice, equal representation and equal recognition for women. While we are making some progress, I have become increasingly concerned about the stark gender bias highlighted by research such as the global study by Ipsos and the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership. We urgently need to grapple with the attitudes and behaviours behind this, so that we can better engage and shift perspectives.
One such opportunity is via the groundbreaking Gender Compass, which has been led by Plan International Australia and Dr Rebecca Huntley, and we have proudly contributed to. Gender Compass is a first-of-its-kind research project that segments the broad Australian public into six groups based on their attitudes, behaviours and policy preferences in relation to gender equality. It helps us understand not only what people believe, but the values that underpin those beliefs and the challenges that people encounter that prevent them from championing gender equality in their life. It is a tool that can be used by communicators, advocates and changemakers to meet people where they are, rather than where we think they should be.
Building a gender-equal society requires us to shift social norms. To do so, we need evidence-based resources that guide how we can meaningfully engage people in conversations about this issue that affects all of us. But until now, that hasn’t existed in the gender equality sector.
As philanthropists, we can all play a role in ensuring that Gender Compass is leveraged by our not-for-profit and government partners. We do not want this research to sit on the shelf or be used exclusively by the team who developed it. There are lots of opportunities to build on the initial findings, deepen the data sets, and to trial effective communication and engagement with different segments.
We know the potential opportunity ahead because Gender Compass was modelled on another audience segmentation developed by Dr Rebecca Huntley and the Sunrise Project – the highly successful Climate Compass. Since its launch, Climate Compass has been used widely – by financial institutions, cultural institutions, governments and organisations across civil society. It has transformed how climate advocates approach communications, helping organisations unlock their messaging and reach – not only for those already onside, but also those who are disengaged, cautious or doubtful. Our hope is for Gender Compass to transform our shared advocacy in the same way.
In October, Philanthropy Australia, Australians Investing in Women and Plan International Australia will be guiding a discussion around how we can maximise the use of this resource in our sector. I strongly encourage you to join the event to learn more about the tools and consider ways you can engage.
‘Gender compass: A groundbreaking new tool for philanthropy and beyond’ will be held as a hybrid event on Thursday 12 October at 4:00pm – 5:30pm in Melbourne and online.