By Luke Michael
Pro Bono News
Equity and discrimination is now the number one concern for young Australians, according to new research from Mission Australia.
The charity’s latest youth survey of more than 25,000 Australians aged 15 to 19 found this was the top national problem for young people, with 40.2 per cent of respondents identifying it as an important issue in Australia today.
Unsurprisingly, COVID-19 was the second biggest concern (38.8 per cent) for young Australians, while mental health came in third (30.6 per cent).
This is the first time equity and discrimination has topped the list, with this issue ranking third in Mission Australia’s 2019 youth survey (24.8 per cent).
Mission Australia’s CEO James Toomey said it was clear that young people urgently wanted this problem addressed.
“This year, we’re hearing loud and clear that our young people see discrimination as a major issue in Australia, and are very concerned about unfair treatment, with gender inequality being at the forefront of their concerns,” James said.
“Dismissing young people’s concerns as gender politics is to miss the point; the message loud and clear is that young females and young males are concerned about gender inequality in Australia.”
More than one quarter (27 per cent) of young Australians reported being unfairly treated over the past year, most commonly due to their gender (41 per cent).
Race/cultural background (30.4 per cent) and mental health (26 per cent) were also identified as catalysts for discrimination.
James said young people’s own experience of discrimination, alongside escalating media coverage of grassroots movements such as Black Lives Matter, were likely making them think more about the state of racial relations in Australia and worldwide.
He said racism has no place in Australia.
“Everyone – from our national leadership, to community members – should enact solutions and efforts to end discrimination and racism.
“To fortify inclusion across our country, we need a new National Anti-Racism Strategy, which includes a commitment to partnering with young people to harness their voices and create initiatives to eradicate racism and discrimination.”
This is an extract from an article that first appeared on Pro Bono News (probonoaustralia.com.au).