Gender relations in
Is the ‘war’ over?
Defining the gender wars
Is Australia a particularly sexist society?
How should we characterise the nature of the
relationship between men and women?
Do significant disparities exist along gender
The crisis for feminism vs the crisis of
Masculinity and femininity refer to the
idealisations of particular qualities,
characteristics, appearances, behaviours that
are attached the male and female sex.
Hegemonic or dominant form of gender
Men as strong, objective, rational,
Women as weak, subjective, emotional,
Sites of gender socialisation
Tend to depict women in a limited range of
- wife and homemaker
- sexual object
Men often depicted as stupid and incompetent
particularly in the home and afraid of
The nation as a gendered entity
National types constructed around male
figures and a particular kind of masculinity.
A sexist nation?
Gender imbalance in the 19th century
The nature of the Australian frontier
The basic wage
The role of war in Australian society
Gender disparities today?
Has Australia reached a post-feminist stage
of the debate? Is feminism now redundant?
The end of equality? Issues of gender
imbalance off the national agenda.
The need for a national conversation?
Women and politics
The vote and the right to stand for parliament
both achieved early in Australia.
1902 Commonwealth Franchise Act
First woman to gain a seat in parliament in
1943 and then not again until 1966.
Women in parliament
1994 ALP adopted a policy of affirmative
action to ensure 35% of seats needed to form
government would be filled by women.
The number of women in parliament has
climbed in the 1990s.
One-quarter of Federal parliamentarians are
Women under-represented at the executive
Women & paid work
Access to paid work a key demand in the
struggle for women’s liberation.
1947 women comprised 22% of the workforce
1987 women comprised 37% of the workforce
with the increase of married women from 3%
1992 women comprised 42% of the workforce
1969 granting of equal pay to women doing work of
the same nature to men.
1972 equal pay for work of equal value.
1975 anti-discrimination legislation
1984 Sex Discrimination Act
1996 Affirmative Action (Equal Opportunity Act)
Women in work in contemporary
Feminisation of the workforce.
In August 2002 women comprised 44.5% of
Overall participation of women in the
workforce is 66% - lower than comparable
nations like the US
Describes the concentration of women and
men in different occupations
Horizontal segregation – women and men
working in different occupations
Vertical segregation – occupational
hierarchies are also gender hierarchies.
Lower wages for ‘women’s’ work.
Women continue to earn less than men.
In 2002 the ratio of the female to the male wage
The national conversation
A crisis for feminism?
Has feminism achieved its goals? Is it
Is feminism relevant for young women?
Does liberal feminism establish a men as the
A masculinity crisis?
Marginalised and confused by their social
Linked to changing nature of the workforce
and increased participation of women.
Representations in popular culture of men as
stupid or incompetent