Gender inequality in Australia

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In Australia, gender inequality denotes the inconsistencies between individuals due to gender. The topic covers a variety of concerns from health to equal opportunity in terms of employment and wages.


In response to the concerns, the Australian government has implemented various legislation such as the Sex Discrimination Act 1984. The legislation covers the issues of discrimination in education, partnerships, marital status, sexual harassment and potential pregnancy.

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency is an Australian Government statutory agency charged with promoting and improving gender equality in Australian workplaces. It is are responsible for administering the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 (which replaced the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999). The Workplace Gender Equality Agency was formerly known as the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency.



Australia has a persistent gender pay gap between the average weekly earnings of men and women as calculated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.[1] Between 1990 and 2009, the gender pay gap remained within a narrow range of between 15 and 17%.[2] In August 2010, the Australian gender pay gap was 16.9%.[3]

Studies show that unexplained differences in wages may be due to direct discrimination, or to other unmeasured differences between men and women, calculations do not account for education, experience or area of work so little can be known about the causes.[4][2][5]

Studies that examine the gender pay gap across the entire wage distribution find that the gender pay gap is much greater among high wage earners than among low wage earners even after controlling for various individual and workplace related factors. These results indicate that a glass ceiling may be found in the Australian labour market.[6][7]

Gender and health[edit]

Differences in health is illustrated through the data retrieved from the ABS, where it gap between men and women in terms of life expectancy. In 1998, the life expectancy of men was 75.9 compared to 81.5 for women.[8]


  1. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics.Average Weekly Earnings, Australia, May 2015. Retrieved on November 21, 2015.
  2. ^ a b National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling. The impact of a sustained gender wage gap on the economy. Report to the Office for Women, Department of Families, Community Services, Housing and Indigenous Affairs, 2009, p. v-vi.
  3. ^ Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency. Pay Equity Statistics. Australian Government, 2010.
  4. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics.Average Weekly Earnings, Australia, May 2015. Retrieved on November 21, 2015.
  5. ^ Watson, Ian (2010). Decomposing the Gender Pay Gap in the Australian Managerial Labour Market. Australian Journal of Labour Economics, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 49-79.
  6. ^ Miller, Paul W. (2005). The Role of Gender among Low-Paid and High-Paid Workers. Australian Economic Review, Vol. 38, No. 4, pp. 405-417, quote p. 413-414.
  7. ^ Kee, Hiao Joo (2006). Glass Ceiling or Sticky Floor? Exploring the Australian Gender Pay Gap. The Economic Record, Vol. 82, No. 259, pp. 408-427.
  8. ^ Greig, Lewins, White, “Inequality in Australia”, p.60. Cambridge University Press, 2003.

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