Of the numerous issues in Australian society in recent decades, gender inequality is one of the most discussed topics. Furthermore, despite the actions which have always played an important role in changing the whole community opinions and making changes in gender equality in this country, there are still women who have their choices and opportunities limited because of the discrimination.
With a view to figuring out how to help women and girls in getting rid of these bad experiences, the question is whether the gender inequality still exists in Australian society need to be discussed according to academic sources in this essay. This essay will prove that gender discrimination does still exist in Australia. To begin with, ‘feminist theory’s aim is to understand what is gender inequality and in which women’s and men’s social roles, experiences will be examined in a range of fields such as sociology and education.
This theory emphasizes on analyzing the discrimination, stereotyping which women have to deal with in their daily lives (Lerman & Porter 1990). This theory is the dominant theory in considering the existence of gender inequality in Australia. In reference to Elliot (2018), gender is different from sex in sociologist’s point of view and gender’s definitions are explained as categories of masculine and feminine which are socially constructed but not biologically defined. Additionally, ‘gender inequality’ is that reward and opportunities for males and females are not always the same and there is a big difference between the opportunities and expectations for men and women. In a nutshell, these are the key concepts which are needed to be clarified in order to answer the question whether there is gender discrimination in different contexts of Australia or not.
In order to prove that there is still inequality with gender expectations and roles in this country, this essay aims to analyze the discrimination in diverse contexts from daily to academic environment in terms of considering scholarly sources. First of all, in the 1950s and 1960s, there was a clear idea of how an ideal family should be. For instance, it is a family with the clear division of the gender roles within the family which means men will be the breadwinner and women will be the homemaker of the family. Women are even dominant in contributing to the domestic work of the house and the idea of men doing housework was still rare. But in the last forty years until now, the boundaries of gender division between paid and unpaid work has been blurred and moreover, the gender roles also become blended. However, in according to the Time Use Survey (2006), no matter what is the employment status of females, they will spend more and longer time on household work than males.
For example, for both women and men who are not in the labor force at the age of 15 to 64, women tend to spend nearly 42 hours per week contributing to the housework. Surprisingly, men at the same age as them only spend 20 hours which means that women do twice as much as men do for the housework. Again, for people who work full time, women devote about 28 hours for the domestic work while men spend almost 17 hours for a week. It can be seen that even now when women have entered into the productive labor and men start to share the responsibility for doing household work but it is argued that men are hesitant to assume that women have a larger share of the domestic labor than men do Dempsey & Lindsay (2014). Furthermore, it is clear that besides participating in the labor force and taking in the paid work, women are still in charge of taking care of children and doing housework which can be understood that they have to do double the work in contrast with men. Since the 1970s, when there was a large number of mothers entered in the paid labor market which has become one of the most significant changes in Australia society. In reference to Dempsey & Lindsay (2014), the labor market remains profoundly discriminated gender when men are able to earn more money than women despite the fact that women have to do double the work compared with men’s amount of work.
That is why without a doubt, it can be said that the gender inequality still exists in Australia. Secondly, not only just within the family but the gender inequality also occurs in academic environments such as universities or workplace. According to Booth (2010), because of the increasing number of universities which enabled more student to access to higher education at universities. This meant it would open up new opportunities, which were more available to women, together with that, labor market discrimination may diminish but actually, those changes were not enough.
All these factors led to more women were likely to have a chance to shift into investing in skills and later on entering the labor market. However, for both staff or learning and teaching positions or even in doing research, women were underrepresented. In the early 1950s, the gender gap in academic environments like universities began to reduce, as the result of responding to society’s expectations in women which caused the changes in labor force participation and marriage age of women.
The continuing increase of white collar and service jobs and technological breakthroughs also played an important role in these changes too. By the 1960s, gender inequality became one of the most controversial topics. Less than a century after Federation, in the 1980s till now, not Australian men but women have become more likely to enroll in higher education and they have gained considerable achievements across a range of fields of study. But there are still some certain fields in which women still remain in the minority.
For example, engineering has only 15.5 percent female and architecture has 40.9 percent but education is 74 percent female, health is 72.
9 percent, and lastly is science with 52 percent female (Booth & Joo 2010). However, from 1972 to 1976, the employment status of all full-time staffs in Australian universities was analyzed with a view to determining the inequality of occupation. Most of them was randomly selected from a range of Australian universities and was requested to answer the prepared questions regarding their sex or status. This research later on received an overall response rate of 63% including 373 female & 258 male replies.
The result was that many women felt more discriminated against men in terms of sex, academic status, and age (Jones & Lovejoy 1980). Subsequently, it is clear that the existence of gender inequality can be seen from this evidence and it is in need of the whole society action in order to change the gender gap, also reduce the gender discrimination within Australian society and bring back the equality for both genders.