De Jure vs De Facto Gender Equality Within the Commonwealth of Australia: A Disturbing Dissonance Between a Robust Legislative Framework and the Empirically Imbalanced Realities Across Government and Society
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CitationEnriquez, Edward. 2018. De Jure vs De Facto Gender Equality Within the Commonwealth of Australia: A Disturbing Dissonance Between a Robust Legislative Framework and the Empirically Imbalanced Realities Across Government and Society. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
AbstractThis project shows that there is a vast dissonance between de jure and de facto gender equality within Australia. Despite Commonwealth efforts to effect change, including: the adoption of an array of international gender protocols and conventions; the introduction of a national maternity leave scheme; the creation of multiple women-focused agencies to protect and promote women empowerment; and the requirement of private-sector employers to track key gender indices, gender imbalances remain profoundly entrenched across government and society. Specifically, low levels of female representation persist in three core leadership areas: (1) seats within national and subnational governments, either elected or appointed; (2) within the legal system across all jurisdictions, either before the bench as litigators, presiding as judges or justices in court, or holding the office of attorney-general; and (3) membership on governing boards and bodies across all levels of management within the public and private sectors. As a result, women are under-represented from key decision-making forums and critical leadership roles throughout Government and society, subsequently impeding women’s opportunities to equally shape decisions and contribute to policies addressing their unique needs, including maternity and their role in serving as the nation’s primary care-givers, whether because they self-elect into it or because they see no other choice. Simply put, women in Australia are not valued, honored or recognized as equally as men, neither in society nor in Government. Finally, this project highlights that the rate of change for women’s progress within Australia falls far behind global trends in cross-national comparisons, being outperformed by scores of poorer and less developed African and Latin American nations with regards to women’s share of power within government, with the data showing that women’s citizenry in Australia will remain unequal to men’s for decades to come.
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