Equal Employment Opportunity


Word Count: 1, 754
Table Of Contents








1.0 Introduction…………………………………………………………………..3


2.0 Progress of Women’s Rights………………………………………………...4


2.1 Pay…………………………………………………………………..4,5


2.2 Barriers to Employment and Promotion…………………………...6


2.3 Maternity Leave……………………………………………………...7


3.0 Evaluation – Trade Unions………………………………………………….8

4.0 Conclusion……………………………………………………………………9
5.0 Appendices………………………………………………………………….10


5.1 The Affirmative Action Act 1986………………………………….10


6.0 Bibliography………………………………………………………………...11
1.0 Introduction:


“Imagine a world where there are three rates for the same job - the skilled rate, the trainee rate and the women\'s rate. Imagine a world where you get sacked as soon as you announce you are pregnant - and have no legal protection. Imagine a world where you try to hire a television, and they tell you to come back with your husband - company policy does not allow married women to sign contracts. Imagine the world when your mother was young.” (http://www.ivillage.co.uk/workcareer/workrights/discrim/articles/0,,211_172041-3,00.html)


‘Finally as a society we can be proud to say that today, women are given “Equal Opportunity” in the Australian workforce.’ Since the early nineteenth century, women began fighting for rights and over the last twenty-five years women have gained greater equality (Stearman, 1999, p.56). With progress comes resistance and struggle, the Australian workforce has undergone major changes during the last century. The stages of progress that has taken place to appreciate women in the workforce in relation to pay, barriers to employment and promotion and maternity leave will be the focal point of this report.




2.0 Progress of women’s rights:





2.1 Pay:

In Australia women’s involvement in many facets of paid work can be viewed in a number of ways. Today\'s generation of young women have educational and employment opportunities that their mothers and grandmothers never dreamed of. (The Guardian May 1, 2002). In the early 1900’s women were regarded as the nurturers with men being the providers. Women produced and looked after the babies, had the worst jobs and lowest pay, did the cooking, made the morning tea and serviced the revolution. (Stevens, 1985) Women were expected to do men’s work and were paid much less than men. And at the same time they still had to undertake their unpaid work in the home (Stearman, 1999, p.56). Some 20 percent of women workers, such as the NSW teachers in 1959, and the meat workers in 1969, had won equal pay for equal work, but the average award rate was still $45 for men and $32.57 for women. In both these industries women were performing the same or similar work to men but no advance had been made in revaluing the traditional areas where the majority of women worked. One rate for each job, irrespective of the age, sex, or race, was demanded. (Stevens, 1985) Women were beginning to enter parliament in greater numbers and laws were changed to represent the wishes of the voters. Since then women’s pay has come a long way, a lot better but certainly not equal.
‘In 1972, women won the right to comparable wages with men when the ruling by the Arbitration Commission of "equal pay for work of equal value"’ (The Guardian May 1, 2002). However, the implication of this ruling continues to create debate in a workforce that remains heavily segregated by sex. Consequently today women still lag in the pay stakes with earnings of 84c in the dollar of the male wage (The Guardian May 1, 2002).
From the Office of the Status Of Women, and information from the Bureau of Statistics, Women now make up 43% of the workforce, with 56% in full time work (Currie, Cameron, 2000, p400) Because women were considered to be the child bearers they dominated part-time and casual work or were concentrated in low-paid, low status service occupations. This is certainly progress, compared to the early 1900s when women held only 20% of the workforce. (http://www.vthc.org.au/women/involvement.html) Once women were given the vote in1907 and were represented in parliament things began to change. Governments have established laws to ensure women are given equal opportunity in the workforce. For example The Affirmative Action (Equal Employment Opportunity for Women) Act, 1986 (see appendix 1) was established by the Federal Labor Government to ensure that all companies develop and implement policies, which ensure fair treatment of men and women at work (Bruyn, 1998).





2.2 Barriers to employment and promotion:


“Women get evaluated on their performance; men get evaluated on their potential”. (http://www.eowa.gov.au/About_Equal_Opportunity/Key_Agenda_Items/Women_in_Decision_Making_Roles/Whats_Holding_Women_Back.asp)


As a result of changing social norms and economic pressures many Australian