Explain how and why women’s rights have changed since 1945 Women’s rights today can be agreed to be as equal as men, but it wasn’t like this since 1945. Many rights changed in terms of work with the equal pay issue and legislation. This was because of several reasons including women not wanting to return to their traditional roles and the beginning of the Women’s Liberation Movement. One of the most major changes to women’s rights was wage discrimination in favour of men.
This denied women the opportunity to be financially independent of men and failed to consider female breadwinners. In 1949-50 two women organisations put cases to the Basic Wage Inquiry in support of equal pay which resulted in an increase in female wages to 75% of the male rate. The Industrial Arbitration Amendment Act 1959 (NSW) granted equal pay to women doing similar or the same work as men, but not to women whose work was ‘essentially or usually performed by women. ’ Finally in 1974, the commission awarded a minimum adult wage so that the minimum wage for both sexes was equal.
After WWII, not all women were ready to leave the workforce and go back to being housewives. They didn’t want to revert back to old roles and responsibilities after taking over during the war while the men were away. This was simply not just because of the money but the independence and self-determination they experienced when working. Women wanted to become more involved in the public sphere of life beyond the home. By the late 1980s, many households needed two incomes to meet the demands of our consumer society which created more support for women’s paid work.
After 1945 many feminist began to promote their beliefs that changed laws and legislations that prevented them from their rights. A legislation that greatly affected the lives of women was the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW). The Anti-Discrimination Act made it illegal to discriminate on sex and marital status, for example. The Act also created the Anti-Discrimination Board to investigate and resolve complaints. In 1979, the government approved the international Convention in the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).
Also, during 1979-80, the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) succeeded in gaining 12 months unpaid maternity leave for women employed. The Women’s Liberation Movement aimed to overturn concepts of female inferiority and male dominance and to make society see women as independent beings. Women promoted their liberation through protests, conferences, consciousness raising, political pressure or lobbying and books. The Women’s Electoral Lobby was one of the most effective groups in the promotion of women’s rights through lobbying governments and political parties to adopt policies.
Australia was slowly beginning to introduce changes that supported women’s rights and freedoms through improved educational opportunities, establishments of childcare facilities, rape crisis centres and more. Throughout the past, women have always struggled to gain recognition for their rights. After 1945 women began to question their traditional roles and their relationships with men. As a result many rights as well as stereotypes changed as women finally stood up for their beliefs.
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