Changing Rights and Freedoms Case Study: Women
Focus Question 1 • Describe the achievements of women’s rights and freedoms in the post WWII period in Australia.
Legacy of World War II "The home remains her citadel, but the factory and the workshop have become her arena." He said that when the war was over "most women will ultimately be absorbed into the home.“ John Curtin (PM) When labour shortages occurred during World War II, some female workers employed in traditional male jobs were awarded a much improved rate of between 60% and 100% of the male wage depending on the industry and its importance to the war effort. After the end of the war in 1945, women were returned to lower pre-war pay scales of between 54% and 60% of the male rate. Such developments during and after the war led more women to demand equal pay for equal work. Strikes by women workers were a discerning feature of the struggle for equal pay. On 10 April 1951, women at Rheem in Brisbane went on strike after the management wanted to slash the pay rate to 75% for all women workers. After holding out for three months, the dispute was settled and the women were offered 87.5%, equivalent to 90% of the male rate when the strike started.
United Nations Charter on Human Rights 1948 • Article 23. • (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment. • (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
Impact of overseas ideas • In 1963, Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique was published in the United States. It identified the “problem with no name” and began to publicise how many women felt about their lack of full participation in society. Broader discussion of the limitations placed on women began, with the development of small consciousness-raising groups. This initially involved mainly middle class women and laid the basis for a mass consciousness that was to flourish into women’s rights organisation during the social upheaval of the late 1960s and 1970s • In 1969, the now infamous bra-burning protest by student women outside the Miss America contest catapulted feminism onto the public stage. Campus women’s consciousness-raising groups and feminist collectives flourished, and the mass feminist movement was born.
Post War Goals for Women • Equal Pay • Right to stay in Employment after marriage • Access to childcare • Maternity Leave • “Most working women are in subordinate, poorly paid jobs in industry, the catering and hotel trades, shops ,offices, teaching and nursing. In nearly every state women are paid less than men…There is considerable resistance in business organizations to the appointment of women to important positions, not least because of the well known dislike of having a woman as a boss.” • Craig McGregor, Profile of Australia 1966
Strategies of Women’s Liberation Movement • During the new wave of feminism in the 1960-80s, ideas and organisational models also flew from one country to the another, increasingly through individuals and groups travelling around, but also through pamphlets and magazines and not least through extensive mass media coverage. • By 1972 there was a constituency for change among women, but as yet no vehicle to translate the new consciousness into politically effective demands. Direct forms of public protest were used in order to achieve objectives. Ideas also spread through word of mouth, consciousness raising and literature, and the media were very interested in the women's movement. In March 1971 the Sydney Movement published the first issue of their newspaper, Mejane. This sparked many newsletters, newspapers and magazines in Australia.
International Womens Day On 8 March 1975, International Women's Day, 1000 women paraded in Melbourne. Four smiling policewomen led the march.Identify from the sources , the issues that most concerned women ?
Women in the 1960’s 1966 Ban on married women working as permanent employees is abolished 1969; Women were granted equal pay for equal work Often cited as the twentieth-century's single-most important technological achievement, the contraceptive pill transformed the fabric of society and radically redefined the social and economic roles of women
Family Law Act 1975 The 'no fault' provisions of the new Act enabled many people to divorce sooner than they would have done under the previous law, and led to a heaping of divorces into one year, 1976
“The Female Eunuch” “Women's liberation, if it abolishes the patriarchal family, will abolish a necessary substructure of the authoritarian state, and once that withers away Marx will have come true willy-nilly, so let's get on with it”. “We need not challenge anyone to open battle, for the most effective method is simply to withdraw our cooperation in building a system which oppresses us…We must also agitate…picket segregated bars and beauty competitions, serve on committees, invade the media..”
WOMEN’S REFUGE: ELSIE In 1974, a small terrace house in Westmoreland Street, Glebe became a refuge for women and children trying to escape domestic violence. Glebe women, amongst others, were instrumental in its establishment and maintenance. Elsie was the first such refuge to be set up in Australia and soon was burgeoning with people needing help. By 1999, more than 300 similar refuges had been founded in this country
Strategies: Protests, Marches and Media On Wednesday, March 8, in the most militant action of the week, sixteen young women from Elsie Refuge occupied a house in Derwent Street, Glebe They were protesting about the impossible housing conditions for young women in Sydney. Federal police smashed their barricades, dragged them out and arrested them. The participation of the women from the NSW Women's Unit in IWD activity in 1978, and some of the events before the day, led to a spate of rumours and criticisms about a possible selling out of radical feminist politics on the day. Criticism took on a new quality as groups from within the women's liberation movement demonstrated against one another during IWD actions.
Focus Question 1 • Explain the experiences of women’s liberationists in the post WWII period in Australia.
Focus Question 2 • Outline the key developments in the equal pay case.
History of Equal Pay Case • 1907 The Federal Harvester Case establishes a basic wage for males on the basis of their `breadwinner' status. • 1919 The basic female wage is set at 54% of the male basic wage. • 1943 The basic female wage is raised to 75% under the National Security (Female Minimum Rates) Regulation • 1969 The first Federal equal pay case establishes the principle of equal pay for equal work • 1972 The second Federal equal pay case widens the 1969 principle to equal pay for work of equal value • 1985 The doctrine of `comparable worth' is rejected by the Federal Commission because of the threat posed by it to existing wage relativities and wage fixing principles • 1996 The NSW Industrial Relations Act 1996 is passed by the NSW Parliament. It updates a previous definition of equal pay to "equal remuneration for men and women doing work of equal or comparable value". The Commonwealth Workplace Relations Act 1996 is passed, which carries over the Equal Remuneration Division of the former Commonwealth legislation
Focus Question 3 • Explain the significance of the Equal Pay Case to the changing rights and freedoms of women in Australia.
Significant Political Parties:1972: “Its Time” • Whitlam’s Policy of Social Justice • 1972Equal Pay for Equal work Act was passed • 1973Maternity Leave Act was passed • Parliamentary position of Women’s Adviser instituted • The Whitlam Government made federal funding, administered through the States, available in 1975 for the establishment of rape crisis centres across Australia. Centres were quickly set up in Adelaide and Sydney ‘Steps made towards improving the lives of women and indigenous Australians are also evidence of the Whitlam governments commitment to social justice whilst in power. The government made substantial steps towards gaining equality for women, Ross McMullin suggests, 'Coalition governments from 1950 to 1972 had, despite pressure from the FPLP, repeatedly refrained from endorsing international conventions on discrimination, equal pay and political rights of women. The Whitlam government ratified them all.‘ Rebecca Fleming
Significant Individuals:Zelda D’Aprano D'Aprano was an active unionist and an activist in the women's movement. She chained herself across the doors of the Commonwealth Building and later the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in Melbourne in protest against the inadequacy of the decision on the Equal Pay case in 1969. D'Aprano was one of the initiators of the Women's Action Committee in 1970, and the Women's Liberation Movement in Melbourne in 1971. She is a current member of the Australian Women's Party and was a member of the Communist Party of Australia from 1950-1971.
ACTU: Charter for Working Women 1977 • With the threat of unemployment gone the unions were now in favour of Equal Pay for equal work • In 1977 the ACTU adopted its Working Women’s Charter to bolster womens right to work. Campaigns for workplace reform to accommodate family responsibilities, became and remain a priority for the ACTU.
Focus Question 4 • Assess the role of the equal pay case in the changing rights and freedoms of women in the post WWII period in Australia.
Significant Groups:Women’s Electoral Lobby 1972 • The Women's Electoral Lobby (WEL) was formed in 1972 just prior to a Federal election. WEL's first survey of political candidates revealed a gross lack of knowledge or even interest in the many issues affecting women in Australia. • Further surveys gained public notoriety and encouraged the formation of branches in all capital and many regional cities. Since then, winning government has often been attributed to the women's vote. Over the years, WEL has continued to provide well researched submissions to both sides of the political fence on a range of issues, from economics and employment, to health and human relationships. WEL policies have been based on the assumption of women's right to choose and to control her own destiny; WEL's approach has been to demand that right be entrenched into legislation, and embedded in political, economic and social structures • WEL policies are directed to two basic ends: • redressing resistant and persistent inequities in the current position of women in Australian society; • ensuring that women can make an equal contribution to its future development.
Second Wave FeminismFeminist Goals of the 80’s and 90’s • At the National Women’s Liberation Conference it was argued that only women could improve women’s roles and this led to a new direction for the Women’s Movement. • Rights over their bodies • Access to contraception • Childcare • Protection from domestic violence • Single parent support • Equal pay for equal work • Tertiary education and career advancement • No fault divorce • Refuges and rape crises centres
Women in the 1980’s AFFIRMATIVE ACTION 1986 Equal Employment Opportunity for Women. Affirmative Action is a policy which ensures women are represented on bodies traditionally dominated by men Dr. Anne Summers, First Assistant Secretary, Office of the Status of Women, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, 1984.
Sex Discrimination Act 1984 • “ It is unlawful for a person to sexually harass, make an unwelcomed sexual advance, request or favour, or engage in unwelcomed conduct of a sexual nature to the person harassed a) an employee of the person b) a person who is seeking to become an employee of the person.”
Women in the 1990’s 1992 Glass ceiling holds strongBy Craig Donaldson“WHILE WOMEN are well educated and gain valuable skills in the workplace early in their careers, this hasn’t translated into leadership and management roles based on merit or performance at more senior levels, according to Sex Discrimination Commissioner Pru Goward.“While some women and organisations can hold their head up high, it dumbfounds me that in this day and age we are still calling for greater numbers of women to be appointed to senior leadership roles, whether in business or politics,” she said.”
WOMEN IN PARLIAMENT Janine Haines Susan Ryan Amanda Vanstone Joan Kirner Jenny Maklin
I AM WOMAN. Karen MatthewsAwarded the 2004 Telstra NSW Business Woman of the Year, Karen Matthews is no stranger to success. At 40, she is one of Australia’s youngest female CEOs and is proud to be the mother of two children along with heading a $17M business.
Women in Australia Today There are different views about how much impact the women’s liberation movement has had on Australia: • More choice over reproduction • Recognition of violence, but not necessarily a decrease in domestic violence • Can reach high positions in politics, business and professions, but still more difficult than for men, and less often occurring • Women’s and men’s changing roles in home and work • Education has become more equal, with more possibilities, but evidence of proportionately fewer women in key positions or traditionally male professions
Focus Question 3 • Identify the continuity and change of women’s rights and freedoms in Australia since WWII.