Womens Rights in Australia Essay

Women’s rights The rights and freedoms of various gender, social, cultural and economic groups have changed dramatically since 1900. In 1900 women were not allowed to get jobs, they were to stay in the house and obey their husbands. Women did not have the right to vote and were not permitted to use the pill or abortion, they were not able to achieve a higher education and could not obtain a loan if they were single as they needed their husband as a guarantor.

In NSW in 1902 women were given the right to vote and they were given the right to sit in parliament in 1918. This was a great advancement in the role of women’s liberation. And although they were given the right to work much earlier, women only got equal pay for equal work in 1969. When Australia became a federation they believed that the Aborigines were a dying race and the constitution did not allow them any rights.

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Section 127 excluded Aborigines from the census even though heads of cattle were counted and section 51 gave power of Aborigines to the state. This was how it was until the referendum of 1967 when majority of Australians voted to include them in the census of their own country. During the early 1900’s Aboriginals were seen as a lower class, they were not allowed to vote and could not work. They were heavily discriminated and suffered for many years with the superiority of Europeans.

Aboriginals were finally officially given the right to vote in 1967 after the referendum, although they had already been allowed the right to vote much before that, they were not aware of this right. Since the mid 1900s women in Australian have been working towards complete equality, they now have all of the rights that a man has; they can vote, work, take out a loan and use contraception. Although it is said that women have equal rights to men, there are still restrictions in the workplace that prevent women from promotions and leading positions in companies.

The ‘glass ceiling’ is used to describe the barrier which prevents women from achieving the higher positions in management; barriers include things such as maternity leave. Australia has just made a major breakthrough in the issue of women’s rights through the promotion of our most recent Prime Minister Julia Gillard – woman. Although there are still stereotypes about women being too emotional and not being capable of manual work because of their physical stamina, women are now able to reach the top in almost any profession.

Since 1900 women have gained many rights, they are now considered equals with males, they are no longer thought of as incapable and are rather given many of the opportunities of males. They now get equal pay for equal work and are allowed to vote and sit in parliament. Women no longer need husbands, they can take out their own loan and are able to earn their own money. During the last hundred years women have succeeded in gaining their place in society.


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