Historically, Australia’s social structure contributed to gender equality essay titles differences in opportunity and outcome between the genders, resulting in prejudice and discrimination against more women than men over time. Whilst there are far fewer examples of overt gender-based discrimination in Australia, the progress towards true substantive gender equality has clearly stalled.
This content was written by a student and assessed as part of a university degree. With the increase in women’s rights over the past one hundred and fifty years, Australia was shown to be a world precedent when it became the second country to give women the vote in 1902. As the socially constructed roles of males and females began to change, women found themselves gaining more leverage in areas such as family, education and work. However, there are still elements of gender inequality prevalent in contemporary Australian society, despite setting a precedent to the rest of the world in terms of voting rights. The nature of Australian society is intrinsically built to have systematic gender based discrimination within it, which gives rise to biased attitudes within many fields. Within this essay, the Sex Discrimination Act will be used as a basis to analyse and evaluate the relative gender equality within the realms of sexual harassment, the Australian labour force and Australian politics. It is imperative to note, however, that gender equality and inequality within the country are not exclusive to, or limited to, these fields.
The Sex Discrimination Act of 1984 went some way towards increasing gender equality in Australia. The Act prohibits the discrimination on the basis of sex, marital status, pregnancy or potential pregnancy in a variety of areas within Australian public life. Areas which are covered by the act include work, accommodation, education, the provision of goods, facilities and services, the activities of clubs and the administration of any Commonwealth laws and programmes. This Act embodies the principle of recognition and acceptance within the Australian community of the equality between the two different genders.
In June 2010, the government introduced the Sex Discrimination Amendment Bill 2010 to amend the Sex Discrimination Act to, amongst other things, extend the protection from discrimination on the grounds of family responsibilities to both women and men in all areas of work, and to provide greater protection from sexual harassment for students and workers. There has been significant progress in reducing direct sex discrimination since 1984, when the Sex Discrimination Act was passed by the Australian Parliament. However, the application of the Act over a quarter of a century has highlighted some serious limitations with its current form and content. It is clear that progress on achieving substantive gender equality in Australia has stalled, and the Sex Discrimination Act is currently limited in its ability to proactively address this problem.
Discrimination, harassment and violence against women based on their gender is a key marker of gender inequality within Australia, and highlights the way in which women are unable to equally contribute to and benefit from economic, social, cultural and political life. Although some complaints came from men, the distinct disproportion of women claiming discrimination shows that violence against women remains a major human rights issue facing Australia. 500 million a year because of the effects of violence on the employees of Australian businesses. Gender inequality in the labour force is an issue which has received widespread coverage over the past two decades as women have struggled to overcome social, cultural, and institutional barriers in their attempts to achieve the same opportunities and rights as men within the workplace. The composition of the labour force in Australia has seen significant changes over the last three decades as an increasing number of females have been accepted in to the labour force due to changing obstacles and perceptions of the gender. Between the years of 1978 and 1996, female participation in the labour force rose from 43. 7 percent, with females being 42.
Whilst this shows evidence of a cultural change towards women, it will still take a long time for evolutionary change to even up the balance in managerial jobs. A second important consideration in the Australian labour market is the inequality in the share of full time and part time employment between men and women. The large proportion of females working in part time positions has substantial amounts of impact on distribution of income and wealth between the two genders. Part time positions have a tendency to offer lower payments and fewer safeguards such as job security. In the case of casual work, which comprises two thirds of all part time positions, there are few standard employment entitlements such as annual sick and parental leave. This can lead to the insecurity of the worker and the erosion of rights and benefits associated with permanent employment, meaning that more women belong to the peripheral group of employees rather than the elite core.
A final significant issue that females face in the labour market is re-entering the workforce after leaving for maternity reasons. The study also found that over 41 percent of women whose most recent break from work has been for a period of more than 3 months took the break either for the birth of a child or to care for children. Females have a tendency to encounter more difficulties in re-entering the workforce then males, with 70 percent of women re-entering the labour force into a different job. In the political arena, although Australia currently has its first female prime minister, women are still grossly underrepresented in Australian parliament.