The Open College Network in Australia have recently produced an interesting timeline for the development of access to the world of work by Australian women.
“Australian women are among the most highly educated in the world, yet their participation in paid work remains comparatively low.” Elizabeth Broderick, Sex Discrimination Commissioner (2007 – 2015). This beginning to the time-line is an illustration of how, even when progress has journeyed so far over time, that there is so much travel left to achieve.
Source: http://www.opencolleges.edu.au/careers/gender-equality (accessed: 19.07.2017)
Despite Bella Guerin becoming the first Australian woman to achieve a Batchelor of Arts degree, in 1883, we can still read at the end of the Open College timeline that, in OECD analysis, that the full-time weekly wage for a woman is 17.5% less than a man’s.
We liked the presentation and the easy readability of the content, although there is enough referenced content to satisfy the Australian gender historian too.
See more here – http://www.opencolleges.edu.au/careers/gender-equality
In 2017 the Australian Government – Department of Women published a full report, for the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61).
In it, Kate Jenkins the new Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner, maps the topography of contemporary Australia in the context of women’s gender equality.
Sharing ‘…Australian successes and challenges and gained insights on increasing women’s economic participation, including through: equal pay; reducing gender-segregated industries and workplaces; recognising and valuing unpaid work; improving data collection and working alongside men to achieve gender equality’.
There is a very useful reflection on the developing status of Australian Indigenous Women, tempered by the highlighting of continued and persistent risk of violence and discrimination to Australian women in rural areas, as a general finding.
The report of proceedings we also found useful as a research guide to Australian civil society actors, interested in gender equality, which we may not have discovered from this distance.
Our verdict after digesting the sources above? The Australian gender equality journey is one with much success to report, but which continues to highlight a burgeoning equality gap for the Australian woman.
Inequality, like poverty, is a policy choice. Governments, wherever they are, need to do better on this evidence.