Report any Australian discrimination cases here

A speech: The face of gender-based discrimination in Australian workplaces

Equality laws

Women’s rights are not fully protected in Australia.

Australia’s Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (SDA) does not adequately address systemic discrimination or promote substantive equality – there is no general prohibition on sex discrimination; the burden for addressing sex discrimination is on individual complainants; intersectional discrimination is not adequately addressed; and exemptions to the Act, such as those for religious institutions, perpetuate unfair and unreasonable discrimination against women. Protection from discrimination against women in the workforce remains inadequate”.

Australian Human Rights Commission Elimination of Discrimination Against Women

United Nations Human Rights Combating Discrimination Against Women

The Australian Governments Workplace Gender Equality Agency About Pay Equity

The gender pay gap
The gender pay gap is the difference between women’s and men’s average weekly full-time equivalent earnings, expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings. The Agency calculates the national gender pay gap using Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Average Weekly Full-Time Earnings data (cat. No. 6302.0). The national gender pay gap is currently 18.8% and has hovered between 15% and 19% for the past two decades.

The gender pay gap is influenced by a number of interrelated work, family and societal factors, including stereotypes about the work women and men ‘should’ do, and the way women and men ‘should’ engage in the workforce. Other factors that contribute to the gender pay gap include:

  • women and men working in different industries (industrial segregation) and different jobs (occupational segregation). Historically, female-dominated industries and jobs have attracted lower wages than male-dominated industries and jobs
  • a lack of women in senior positions, and a lack of part-time or flexible senior roles. Women are more likely than men to work part-time or flexibly because they still undertake most of society’s unpaid caring work and may find it difficult to access senior roles
  • women’s more precarious attachment to the workforce (largely due to their unpaid caring responsibilities)
  • differences in education, work experience and seniority
  • discrimination, both direct and indirect.

Gender pay gaps can also be calculated for industries, occupations and individual organisations.

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