The Australian Human Rights Commission received more than one thousand complaints in the year 2011 – 2012. Though all these complaints were made under the Sex Discrimination Act, the causes of the complaints were different. The maximum number of complaints were made about sexual harassment. There were a few complaints about discrimination in allocating responsibilities in the family and also about pregnancy discrimination. While the Human Rights Commission is trying to find out solutions to problems that arise as a result of gender discrimination, the Australian government as well as the business community in Australia has started to seriously think about how to support gender equality in Australia. They have already initiated the steps to bring new legislation that will put an end to sex based discrimination in this country. The government has also decided that the new legislation must be imposed very strictly. The government has made 18 weeks parental leave, statutory for all establishments. As part of the effort to put an end to sex based discrimination, Fair Work Australia has equalized the wages for men and women in the social services sector.
Female employees are more in number in the social and community services sector in Australia. Hence, by way of implementing equal salary for both men and women in this highly Feminised sector, Fair Work Australia has shown to the world how to support gender equality in Australia. The government has decided to entrust number of leadership positions with women. By the year 2015, not less than 40% of the government Boards will be under the leadership of women. The public limited companies are asked to fix targets for gender diversity and every year they have to submit the report regarding the same. Those who fail to achieve the target are required to provide an explanation to the government. In their efforts to promote gender equality in their workplaces, the employers get assistance from The Workplace Gender Equality Agency.
The Australian government is committed to bring gender equality in the private sector as well. Under the gender Equality Act, 2014, the private sector companies that have the manpower of minimum 100 people are required to provide the report to the government every year about the various measures adopted by the management to bring about gender equality such as bringing equality in the remuneration for men and women. Though, in recent years Australia could achieve commendable progress in curbing gender based discrimination in the society, more efforts are required to achieve 100% equality among men and women. Even today, many women in Australia are subjected to male chauvinism at home and sexual harassment by men at workplaces and public places. Hence, the truth is that still Australia has to go a long way to eliminate gender based discrimination completely.
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