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Equality For Women In The Workforce

2083 words - 9 pages

Equality for Women in the Workforce

The Daily Telegragh, a well-known Australian tabloid, published a twenty one photo gallery on the many hair styles of Julia Gillard on their website. There was no mention of her political prowess or the fact she was the most powerful women in Australia, the focus was squarely on her appearance (News Ltd, 2014). This is just one of the many obstacles women face when striving for equality in the workplace. This paper will explore the disadvantages women face in the workplace, including the gender pay gap, the under representation of women in senior leadership roles and sexual harassment. A plan to address these disadvantages will be outlined and ...view middle of the document...

Women face many obstacles and disadvantages in the workplace, the most publicised of these, the gender pay gap. The UK Equal Opportunities Commission dramatically highlighted the fundamental unfairness facing women at work by releasing a poster with the slogan “prepare your daughter for the workforce: give her less pocket money than your son” (Gaze, 2012). This may appear to be an extreme view, however figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that in 2014, on average, full-time working women’s earning are 17.1% less per week that full-time working men’s earnings (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2014). Over the last two decades the national gender pay gap has hovered between 15% and 18%, this is influenced by a number of factors including; industrial and occupational segregation, a lack of women in leadership, the fact that women still do most of society’s unpaid caring and a lack of senior part-time and flexible roles. It is concerning that the pay gap favours men in every industry and despite how society has evolved over the last twenty years there is no evidence of a downward trend (Work Place Gender Equality Agency, 2013).

Contributing to the gender pay gap is the fact that women are highly under-represented in corporate management and senior leadership roles. A report released by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia showed that in 2012 just 3.5% of chief executive officers were female (CEDA, 2014). The Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency has also released a report by Macquarie University which highlights the hurdles that women in the workplace continue to face. It shows for every female board director, there are about 12 men in board director positions, women at the executive manager level are either funnelled into support roles of fare badly in the wage stakes compared to their male counterparts (Statham, 2009). These figures are despite the fact that Australia has the number one level of female university graduates. Society stereotypes women as the carer and that they are split focused on their family and it’s this deeply ingrained societal and cultural belief surrounding the role of women that contributes to the absence of women in top positions (Shying, 2013).

Australia has had laws against sex discrimination since 1977. However, despite providing a remedy in individual cases of discrimination or sexual harassment after it has occurred they have not challenged they the norms in the workplace that create an environment which enables the disadvantage of women to continue (Gaze, 2012). Further steps have been taken over the years to strengthen protections against sexual harassment, for example, the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (cth) was amended in 2011 and then again in 2013. Yet, according to the Human Right Commission’s 2012 telephone survey, 21% of people aged fifteen years and older had been affected by workplace sexual harassment (Australian Human Rights...

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