For much of history women have been considered inferior to men, and were treated accordingly. Their role was defined in, and around, the home; as domestic career and dutiful housewife. This changed with the Industrial Revolution. As cottage industries ceased to be feasible, and were replaced with factories, some lower class women began to enter the workforce. The social stigma of working, however, remained until the early sass’s, when the labor shortage, caused by World War l, forced employers to utilize the underemployed sectors of society; namely women.
Since then government and non-government organizations (Nags) have used legal and non-legal meaner to address the changing role of women and the obstacles they face. To rectify gender inequalities women have been given representation in Juries, the right to vote, the right to sign contracts (allowing them to own property), and the right to sue and be sued.. With the rise of feminism in the sass there has been substantial pressure placed on the government and Judiciary to continue to strive for gender equality.
In the past few decades’, particular attention has been given to addressing discrimination in the workplace, sexual assault, and domestic abuse. Some responses have been effective, while others have been woefully inadequate. The increasing participation of women in the workforce stems from increasing economic and social independence, which is partly the result of increasing education. Although women have been able to access secondary and tertiary education since the sass’s, there has never been such equality in education as there is today, with cases like Levels v.
Haines 1986 ensuring that women have access to the name subjects and resources as their male counterparts. This equality has translated into larger numbers of women entering the workplace, which has resulted in it being an area of constant reform, with the need to address issues such as the pay inequities, sexual harassment and the promotional divide (often referred to as the ‘glass ceiling or ‘sticky floor’). Ever since women entered the workforce they have been underpaid compared to their male counterparts. The Harvester Award (1907) set the maximum female wage at 54% of the male wage.
Pay equity has improved since then with the establishment f a basic female wage in 1950, and the landmark ‘Equal Work, Equal Pay of 1969. Despite this decision, pay inequalities still exist, with statistics from 2004 showing that, in comparable Jobs, women earned 92% of the male wage. Another problem for women in the workplace is sexual harassment. Sexual harassment has been illegal since the implementation of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NEWS) and the Sex Discrimination Act (Cut) 1984, which are intended to prevent harassment in the workplace.
Under the Acts it is unlawful to; harass a person in a sexual manner, or because of their gender, sex or marital status. Never the less 41% of women claim to have been harassed, 65% in the workplace. Although sexual reflect this. A case concerning the police training facility at Goldberg found that an officer, who had sexually harassed a student, and another who abused his position by propositioning a student, (in return for grades) were allowed to retain their teaching posts after attending counseling.
That officers found guilty of sexual misconduct were not removed, or severely reprimanded, demonstrates Just how seriously sexual reassessment is taken in some areas. Arguably the biggest challenge faced by women in the workplace, is not pay or harassment, but rather the promotional divide, aka the glass ceiling. The glass ceiling is defined as an unofficial barrier to a prominent position within an organization which women are perceived to be unable to cross due to discrimination.
The term refers to the inconspicuous nature of such barriers, compared to formal barriers to career advancement.. The percentage of women in executive positions is, nationally, 10%. Which is up from 8. % in 2002, however, over half of the top 200 companies still don’t have a female board member. Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (IOWA) director Ms. Karakul said the “continuing insularity and conformity of Australian business” was to blame at that this was becoming “a competitive issue for this country’.
There has been a lot of response to this issue, with the creation of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HEREOF), which promotes the principle of ‘Equal Employment Opportunity. Legislation passed in 1986 ensures that this policy is implemented in the workplace. The Affirmative Action (Equal Opportunity for Women) Act (Cut) 1986, is also designed to the same end; it attempts to provide women with equal access to promotional positions.
There is also the Anti-Discrimination Board and the Office of the Status of Women which were designed to follow up workplace complaints, and ensure that the legislation remains relevant to contemporary needs. These Acts have many success stories, such as the ANZA bank which introduced quotas; having at least one woman on the shortlist for executive positions and having target of 20% executive positions held by women (it now has 22%). The bank says initially there was much hostility to the plan, from both genders, as men resented it as a ‘PC policy and women feared tokenism.
It said that women had to be convinced that the policy wasn’t about that, rather, its intent was to remover barriers that didn’t affect their male colleagues. Currently women get the Job 68% of the time. It can be seen that although there is room for improvement pertaining to issues in the workplace, government responses have been appropriate, and relatively effective, n tackling Women in the workplace. It is also important to consider, however, the contribution of No’s to reform in the workplace.
Women’s Electoral Lobby (WELL) and the Women’s Action Alliance (WA) which established maternity leave as an award condition and campaigned for family leave, in-house child minding and flexible working hours. In the past unions – and in particular the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTA) – have been instrumental in securing women’s rights in the workplaces through collective bargaining. However, the decline in union membership, and the exclusion of “third parties” from the arraigning process under the Workaholics Act (Cut) 2005, has resulted in the disembowelment of unions and as such they are no longer an instrumental MONGO.
Outside of the workplace there are still obstacles to social equality. A main issue, and one that has been a source of great concern, is that of women and violence. Just as women have been seen as property, they have been seen as objects- to be used and, perhaps, abused. Sexual assault and domestic violence are two of the most challenging issues facing women today; they are underreported, hard to recover from ND harder still to get Justice for.
To deal with violence against women in the workplace, and comply with the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, the government has outlawed sexual assault within a marriage (since 1981), created anti-stalking legislation, established the Violence Task Force and granted Apprehended Violence Orders (Avows) on the balance of probability (thus making them easier to obtain). Victims of abuse may seek help from the government in regards to counseling, re- housing and financial support.