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Annalise Stanton

on 1 October 2015

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Transcript of WOMEN

Stop teaching your daughters to fit into
glass slippers
and start teaching them to
shatter glass ceilings
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Vol XCIII, No. 311
Through history, women have been deprived of their basic rights due to one simple, yet unavoidable, factor of their existence:
the fact that they are female.

The law has a role in addressing these issues through a range of mechanisms which have brought about a lot of change.
However, there is still progress to be made!
History cannot be re-written.
However, informing the public of the faults of the past and the mechanisms of the present gives
shape our future.
Australian law began as British law and therefore was followed by the people of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Women were not seen as significant out of their typical roles of '
' or '
'. In fact, women were
not even considered
Women were expected to
the males in their lives as if they were members of a somehow superior race.
Some horrid truths for women in those times include women being seen as property, not being allowed to own property, and being denied access to public life.
Since women were not seen as 'persons', they were classified in another category: the
of the men in their lives. Whether it be a woman's father, husband, or brother, women were expected to wait on them hand and foot, practically taking orders in a manner no different to a slave.

In this modern day, this would be unacceptable due to the societal change in regards to morals and values.

For instance, husbands had legal rights to sexual consortium, which involves the right to
force their wives into sexual intercourse
. This is not acceptable today and is considered sexual assault, as demonstrated in the case of
R v. D.J. Johns (1992).
R v. D.J. Johns (1992)
In this case, Mrs Johns claimed that her husband violently forced her to participate in sexual intercourse without her full consent. She claimed that she fearfully pushed him away and that he was drunk at the time.
Justice Bollen stated that there is
'nothing wrong'
your wife to give consent with
'rougher than usual handling'.
The original "not guilty" ruling was overturned on appeal. The comments from the justice indicate
the heavily patriarchal social views
of women's roles and women as property up until recent times.
Men did not just "own" their wives, but they owned their possessions. Upon marriage, any property that was possessed by a woman would be handed over to her husband. This included her money, property, and identity.
"'Till death do us part".
This wasn't the case for women in terms of their property. Even after the death of her spouse, a woman would not gain ownership of her possessions unless it was
written into a will
. If it was not written into a will, the state gained possession of the items.
This changed with the Married Women's Property Act 1893 (NSW), which gave women the right to own property.
"What's mine is yours, baby. Remember?"
The 2008 film "What Happens in Vegas" depicts a scenario in which divorce and splitting $3 million becomes a problem for a couple that got married in Vegas while drunk.
If a similar scenario was to take place 150 years ago, the husband would get the full amount of money, and be able to divorce her without shame nor hesitation.
"What's mine is mine, and what's yours is mine!"
Upon marriage, women didn't just give up their names, families and possessions. They sacrificed their right to be an individual through the legal concept of
unito caro
, translating to 'one flesh'. They were not considered persons, but an extension of their husbands, consequently depriving them of their right to vote, to reach for a higher level of education (limiting the career paths they were able to pursue), etc.. One figure who fearlessly challenged the seemingly fixed boundaries was
Sophia Jex-Blake
Sophia Jex-Blake saw the boundaries that being female put her in, and
she demanded change
She wished to
study medicine
and was accepted into the University of Edinburgh on a number of conditions including the segregation of sexes during classes. Some professors refused to teach women certain classes at all, depriving them of certain elements of their education and removing the opportunity to practise medicine.
Once again, Jex-Blake refused to be treated this way, initiating action against the University
[Jex-Blake v. Senatus of the University of Edinburgh (1893)]
in an attempt at winning her rights to be taught certain subjects.
Despite their attempts, the University found a loophole and stated that they only had to provide education to
"students or persons",
not women.
Women were allowed to complete tertiary studies in the early 20th Century, and are now known to compete just as well as the males in
all levels of education
Considering that women were not considered 'persons', they were
forbidden from sitting on juries
. It was thought that they were not fit to endure the facts and severity of some cases in the courts and that they were ignorant on legal matters.The case of Bebb v. Law Society (1918) gave judicial sanction to women not being regarded as a 'person'.

Women were legally permitted to sit on juries in
and were officially included on the jury roll in
, however, it was not mandatory for women to participate. It is not until after the
Jury Act 1977 (NSW)
was passed that women were equally obligates to partake in jury duty.

Today, jurors are chosen at random through the electoral roles, no matter the gender of the individual. Women can also participate in
other roles
in the courtroom, such as being a
lawyer, barrister, judge, magistrate
, etc.
Julia Gillard, AUSTRALIA
Former Prime Minister
Michelle Obama, U.S.
First Lady
Angela Merkel, GERMANY
Hillary Clinton, U.S.
Former Secretary of State
Sonia Gandhi, INDIA.
President, Indian National Congress Party
Cristina Fernandez, ARGENTINA
Aung San Suu Kyi, BURMA.
General Secretary, National League for Democracy
Queen Rania Al Abdullah, JORDAN
Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, LIBERIA
Women gaining political suffrage is one of the most
prominent changes
that have happened in history. The view that women were "
personally incapable
" [Chorlton v. Lings (1868)] of making political decisions was overturned by 1908 when all women were allowed to vote in Australia.

However, they were not granted the right to vote due to being seen as equal, instead
being used to win elections

These days, women are not just allowed to vote, but many hold high positions on political levels, ranging from chancellors to secretaries, to presidents.
The economic rights of women were previously based on their marital or social status. As mentioned beforehand, whatever property a woman had was
handed over to her husband
upon marriage.
Consequently, the best chance that women had at owning their own property was through their husbands, making marriage vital.

Married Women's Property Act (1893)
gave women the right to enter into contracts, whereas the Married Persons (Property and Torts) Act 1901 (NSW)
[later absorbed into the
Married Persons (Equality of Status) Act 1996 (NSW)
gave women the right to sue and be sued.

Through these, women were granted considerable rights in relation to
separate income.
Property (Relationships) Legislation Amendment Act 1999 (NSW)
Amended the De Facto Relationships Act 1984.
Aims to
"make provision with respect to the rights and obligations of persons in certain domestic relationships."
Creates more
between heterosexual and homosexual couples in terms of property and insurance.
This Act provides legal protection to women and their children,
regardless of their marital status
, whereas in the past, unmarried women and their children were punished and ostracised upon the birth of the child.
Industrialisation meant that women's paid work changed, and was
kept separate
from the men's work. They were
payed less for equal amounts of work
and were only seen as temporary in the workforce.

Social stereotyping gave males extra opportunities and benefits in the workforce, such as better promotion opportunities, entry to certain job fields and better wages.

The right to equal pay for equal work was first granted to New South Wales teachers in 1959, and then to most others in 1972. The
Industrial Relations Act 1996 (NSW)
and the
Workplace Relations Act 1996 (Cth)
aimed at removing pay inequities.

The concept of the glass ceiling is still very much present in in today's society, demonstrating how some values of the past influence us today.
Attitudes about the roles of women in society have changed over time. Women were expected to be
, mothers and
full-time housewives
. They accepted being seen as 'below' men as it was the
social 'norm'

Today, through the feminist movement, women are expected to be treated equal to men in many aspects of life. Discrimination is still present, but a large chane can stil be seen compared to 150 years ago.

The following YouTube clip from WorldFish summarises why equal social expectations are
beneficial to all on a
global scale

Women make up

47% of the workforce.
• Lower number of women are promoted to higher positions than men →
glass ceiling
. This is caused by attitudes of people in the workplace, male prejudice, male-dominated work practices and the unwillingness of organisations to take account of women’s career paths.

Some reasons that women have
difficulty being promoted
in the workforce include:
priorities (maternity related)
- Patriarchal values/
sexist views
Limited hours
of availability that can come with
raising children

- Women with as assertive management style are seen as ‘bossy’ whereas this is a praised quality in men.

• Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW)
→ prevents discrimination based on sex.
• Anti-Discrimination Act 1984 (Cwlth)
→ sets a new standard of behaviour so that no employer would consider denying someone a position due to factors that do not effect work performance such as sexuality.

The workplace can be an intimidating place for anybody, especially if your gender has been discriminated against as far as history dates back to...

Women are protected in the workplace by many
non-legal mechanisms
. These are usually umbrella mechanisms and cover a number of sub-topics, including
equal pay
maternity leave

However, despite all of the available mechanisms, there is still injustice and discrimination in the world, and it is
not acceptable

Some mechanisms include legislation, mediation and the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.
• In the past, pay rates were not seen as a civil rights issue but as an industrial matter.
• Women were
paid less for equal work
• The
Industrial Arbitration (Female Rates) Amendment Act 1959
(NSW) applied the principle of equal pay for equal work but did not apply to work usually performed by women.
• Some factors that explain the ‘
wage gap

dominated jobs
require greater degrees of training and are paid more in accordance to this.
tend to have uninterrupted careers, while women tend to leave for maternity and family issues.
Male dominated industries
usually include
over-award payments
as a part of the normal wage structure and tend to be
more lucrative in terms of fringe benefits.

This graph from the Australian Bureau of Statistics demonstrates the clear
wage gap
between male and female average weekly cash earnings.
These days, women receive a range of cash pensions and benefits aimed at providing support for these women.

The first introduction of social security was under the
War Pensions Act 1914
Some areas in which women can claim benefits include:
Child care assistance
Maternity Allowance
Maternity Immunisation Allowance
Rent assistance
Child support
Minority groups are discriminated against as a whole, especially women. Some minority groups and issues include:

Indigenous Australian Women:
lack of access to the law
, education restrictions, low life expectancy, etc. There are many payments offered to Indigenous Australian women and support mechanisms.
Women in same sex relationships:
prejudice and
especially through family law and IVF.
Elderly women:
vulnerability and
lack of access to adequate healthcare.

Today, these issues are still present, but there is legislation preventing them from being discriminated against and many benefits available.
A brief history and outline on equality issues in the workplace.
Maternity leave is an agreement whereby a woman can leave work to give birth and care for the child/ren while guaranteeing a position upon her return.

Women are also discriminated against for available working hours due to
family commitments
breast feeding

Mothers do not take action in response to discrimination for a range of reasons.

• A quarter (25%) of mothers who experienced discrimination
did not take any action
in response to that discrimination.

• According to the National Prevalence Survey, the most common reasons mothers gave for not taking action included:

- they perceived that the discrimination was
not serious enough
, it didn’t bother them or that they sorted it out (27%)

- it was too hard, stressful or
for them to take action (24%)

- they felt that they would not be believed or
nothing would change

Gender inequality is the root of all aforementioned workplace issues. Achieving gender equality would include men and women being able to
the same
rewards, resources
Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW)
→ prevents discrimination based on sex.

Anti-Discrimination Act 1984 (Cwlth)
→ sets a new standard of behaviour so that no employer would consider denying someone a position due to factors that do not effect work performance such as sexuality.
Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 →
aims to improve and promote gender equality in the workplace.

This legislation is
thanks to modern day technology and the emphasis put on human rights. The relatively open mindedness of today's society has allowed them to see the
intention behind such legislation
and has helped to
protect the rights of the individual
. This legislation helps meet society's needs in terms of diversity and equality.
This legislation is therefore, for the most part, effective

However, there is a fault in the system
Employers of private institutions can find
in this legislation, preventing some potential employees from getting jobs due to not satisfying a certain criteria. For example, according to Fair Work, it is not discrimination if actions "are taken against an employee of a religious institution to avoid harming the organisation's religious beliefs". Some solutions may include some
information being withheld
during interviews (such as ethnicity and relationship status), as well as general gender equality courses being taken to update all employers and employees on workplace discrimination.
As seen in the previous clip, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency is an
Australian Government statutory agency
that aims to improve and promote gender equality in Australian workplaces. This agency administers the Gender Equality Act 2012 (Act).

Some of this agency's functions, as outlined by the Act include:
'advising and assisting employers in
gender equality in the workplace.'
'collecting and analysing information provided by relevant employers under the Act to assist the Agency to
advise the Minister
in relation to legislative instruments made under the Act.'
reviewing the effectiveness
of the Act in achieving its purposes.'
'work with employers to
maximise the effectiveness
of the administration of the Act, including by minimising the regulatory burden on employers.'
In the case that disputes arise in a workplace, a non-legal method of resolution is mediation.
two parties
trying to solve a dispute with the assistance of a
neutral third party
. The following video is from the Fair Work website briefly explaining how they hold mediations.
"WOMEN who have children lose 17 per cent of their wage over their career as a result of their decision to have a family."
Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA)
is an
approach to getting the message of gender equality to many workplaces around Australia. As seen in the previous YouTube clip (sourced from the WGEA website), they are assisting in making the legislation behind the agency
accessible and easy to understand
. Also by having online reporting methods, it gives workplaces an easier method of following the legislation, while also helping the Agency to do their job more effectively. They are responsive and protect the rights of the individual while promoting an
ideal image of equality in society.
Therefore, it can be said that the WGEA is
somewhat effective
achieving justice
in terms of workplace gender equality.

However, despite all of these positives,
more can be done
. For example, this Agency is only accessible if you are looking for it. More knowledge on this Agency and its work can be spread through the
to encourage others to be educated on workplace gender equality. This would make more people aware of the legislation and make them interested in equal rights.
Mediations are highly effective, with
of people having solved the dispute at that stage. The
Fair Work Ombudsman
makes this method accessible and flexible to suit the needs of the people in dispute. Due to the fact that the solution is
facilitated rather than imposed
, it is more likely to satisfy both parties and consequently be put into action. The compromise does not have to follow legal precedent or community standards, eliminating the stress of a courtroom and being more
focused on fairness

However, since this is a non-legal response, the outcomes
cannot be enforced
. Also, there is chance that the mediation process will only worsen the conflict between the two parties, resulting in a more serious matter that will have to be taken to a higher level of resolution such as an arbitration session or court.

Overall, for the most part, mediations are
in achieving justice for workplace issues and protecting the rights of the individual. To increase the effectiveness of this method, measures including educating employers/employees on their rights and obligations regularly and putting an emphasis on the need for
constant clear communication

“What makes it difficult is that the men who are most in denial about sexism are sometimes the least likely to admit that they feel threatened by women in the workplace.”
This article discusses a study: A Man’s (Precarious) Place: (Men’s Experienced Threat and Self-Assertive Reactions to Female Superiors).
“We found that men exhibited higher implicit threat, indicating that
even if committed to equality in theory, they felt threatened by a female manager
” says Leah Sheppard, a co-author of the study.
'This set of experiments is
hardly an outlier
when it comes to determining that
women are disadvantaged
gender perceptions
expectations at work

This article shows a flaw in the
Workplace Gender Equality Agency
in terms of reaching out to all workplaces and changing societal values.
“Businesses must
re-examine their practices
and honestly assess the opportunities they provide to working parents."
“We both wanted children and it’s the
we had to make – to not earn as much money in order to have a family,’’ Mrs Rose said.
“It is
completely unfair
, but we have all been
conditioned to know that females don’t earn as much

This article highlights how accepting some women have become of being treated lesser than men. This is
The WGEA has worked hard for gender equality, however, it is the
public acceptance and support
that will make this Agency and legislation effective.

Where are the modern day Sophia Jex Blakes?
"SIMPLY creating a work-friendly environment for women can actually damage a company, alienating men who no longer want to work there."
'“Some organisations approach gender equality as simply creating a positive work environment for women,” the Centre for Workplace Leadership says in its report.'
'The report said male-dominated workplaces, such as engineering and mining, it
led to the view that gender equality was only a
“woman’s issue”
and wider, systemic issues would not change.'
'“In female-dominated industries and occupations, this focus on creating a positive environment for women may result in a
attract and retain high-quality male employees.”

This media article stresses why gender equality is important in the workplace. It shows why organisations such as the
Workplace Gender Equality Agency
are important - to source out the
best talent
in a range of fields and creating a
safe and happy work environment for all.
We live in a modern world with hope for the future. We are blessed to have so many mechanisms and ways to solve problems, and it is up to us to put these methods to use to create a better future for all.

"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."
Barack Obama

Full transcript