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By timstuddert Jul 18, 2013 1345 Words
The Changing Rights and Freedoms of Women in Australia Since 1945

Women’s rights have changed considerably after 1945 as beliefs that women were of less importance were being overturned to create a balanced society. Employment, social change and politics have all been changed. Without these alters, Australia would still be a female excluded society with an impression that women belong in their homes.

Feminism has helped the progression of women’s rights in Australia. The first regained women’s right was the right to vote and to be elected into parliament. The second was based on gaining equal rights with men in areas such as in the work place, law and equality socially.

Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks out for women's rights
‘We need to make equal pay and equal opportunity for women and girls a reality, so women's rights are human rights once and for all.’ Quote Hillary Rodham Clinton

Change Over Time (Timeline)
Four achievements of the Women’s Movement in the period 1945-1980

* 1969- Equal pay for equal work, implemented by 1972.
* After continuing campaigns, Australian women workers won equal pay rates with men doing equal work under an Arbitration Commission decision for additional increases, with pay similarity eventually achieved in 1972. * Women's wages were traditionally set lower than a male’s wage. The modification was based on the consideration of a family wage comparing to a man’s legal commitment to care for his family. * The unions wanted to ‘eliminate the difference in current rates represented by the difference between former male and female basic wages’. They aspired to ‘equal pay for equal work’. * 1975- Australia celebrates International Women’s Day * International Women's Day is celebrated in many countries around the world. Women are recognised on this day for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political. It is an occasion for looking back on past struggles and accomplishments, and more importantly, for looking ahead to the future of women. * The Australian Government held the first national conference from 31 August to 6 September in1975 on the status of women (Women and Politics) and committed Australia to celebrating International Women's Day with other member nations of the United Nations. * 1976- Criminal Law Consolidation Act makes rape in marriage a criminal offense * In 1976, rape in marriage became a criminal offence. Changes were made to the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 of South Australia that made rape within marriage an offence and extended the definition of rape to include any unwanted penetration of a man or woman without his or her consent.

* 1980- Australia becomes CEDAW signatory
* Australia becomes a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). * The decision by Australia to sign and later establish CEDAW was a long process, with much debate * There was strong support for CEDAW from many Australian women's organisations. This support was demonstrated at a national level and also in local branches. These groups included the Federation of Business and Professional Women, the Young Women's Christian Association and Zonta International. *

Women’s Liberationists Movement
The Women's Liberation Movement was a feminist political movement which developed in the 1960s and 1970s. In the 1960's, the modern Women's Liberation Movement in Australia started with small groups of women who got together and discussed ways of re-educating the women of Australia their rights. They decided on consciousness rising. They believed that if women were made aware of their lack of rights, they would do something about it.

Culture and education
* Women also sought to raise consciousness through literature. Many magazines and books about women's rights were published throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Germaine Greer's The Female Eunuch continued to have wide influence, as did Damned Whores and God's Police, a book about early colonial attitudes to Australian women, written by Australian academic Dr Anne Summers.

* Universities took up the women's liberation movement in the form of women's studies courses that studied much of this literature. They also studied other literature from a feminist perspective. Gradually the feminist perspective came to be expressed through all forms of culture and the arts, including critiques of the media and popular culture's representations of women and men.

Equal opportunity
* Introduced the concept of affirmative action. The law aspires ‘to identify and remove any barriers which may prelude women from appointment or promotion to a full range of jobs which are in the Australian workplace. The concept of affirmative action caused controversy because it was perceived as a form of positive or reserve discrimination. Many men perceived affirmative action as form of discrimination against them. Health

* In the area of health, the women's movement sought greater access to contraception, abortion and protection from violence by men. They lobbied for greater research into and treatment of women's health conditions such as breast cancer. They lobbied for fairness in the court system in cases of rape and domestic violence, issues which had long been considered 'private' and beyond the responsibilities of courts and police.

* Another area of focus for the women's liberation movement was sexuality. On the one hand, the contraceptive pill had given women more freedom in their sexual relationships. On the other hand, sex itself was now seen as a major area of men's power over women. Feminists explored alternative ideas of sexuality such as same-sex relationships or the choice not to enter into relationships at all.

* The women's liberation movement, or second wave of feminism, was far more diffuse and varied than the first wave. It was expressed in a broad range of ways. Many aims were stated and many methods used to achieve them.

Equal Pay for Women 1969
For full-time, year-round workers, women are paid on average only 78% of what men are paid; for women of colour, the gap is significantly wider. These wage gaps stubbornly remain despite the passage of the Equal Pay Act in 1963, and a variety of legislation prohibiting employment discrimination. Women still are not receiving equal pay for equal work, let alone equal pay for work of equal value. This disparity not only affects women's spending power, it penalizes their retirement security by creating gaps in Social Security and pensions Under Australia's old centralised wage fixing system, "equal pay for work of equal value" by women was introduced in 1969. Anti-discrimination on the basis of sex was legislated in 1984. In November 2011, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced efforts by the national government to improve salaries of the 150,000 lowest-paid workers in Australia, roughly 120,000 women, by contributing $2 billion over the next 6 years

The effect of women's work on wages, looking at the period before and after WWII. The authors focus on the growth of female employment from 1940 to shortly after the war, in 1950. In 1940, only 28% of women were working; by 1945, this figure exceeded 34%. In fact, the 1940s saw the largest proportional rise in female Labor during the entire twentieth century. Although more than half of the women drawn into the workforce by the war left at the end of the decade, a significant number remained.

1945- WWII ends, females are removed from careers. Stanley's bill expires while women earn 59 cents to the dollar.

1946- Katharine St. George elected to Congress.

1959- St. George creates new bill to end gender wage discrimination.

1960s- Women strike for pay equity, equal pay becomes famous.

June 10, 1963- St. George's Equal Pay Act of 1963 signed by President Kennedy.

June 11, 1964- EPA of 1963 takes effect.

June 23, 1972- Title IX passes and strengthens the Equal Pay Act and women's rights.

1980s- The "comparable work movement" brings attention to women's vs. men's work and number of women paid less.

April 20, 2005- Senator Clinton and Representative DeLauro propose the Paycheck Fairness Act.

January 29, 2009- President Obama signs the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, women earn 77 cents to the dollar.

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