After being told this week that I should look at gender diversity in my own law firm, where I only have females working, I was reflecting on this bias. Why is there any judgment made whatsoever about my firm being a place where I only have female staff at the moment? I’m not averse to having male staff, but I haven’t been able to find any that fit well and want to commit to staying longer than 12 months.
I also finished reading The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, which I found only recently despite it being a very successful novel already. This story left me fairly disturbed, and involuntarily seeking out gender information to make myself feel better.
Perfect timing, for the Victorian Women’s Trust to come out with them Gender Equality Timeline for Australia. This is a fantastic record that shows Australians being fairly progressive on one hand, but slow to act on others.
Some of my favourites from the Gender Equality timeline are:
1891 – The age of consent for females to have sex was raised from 13 to 16!
1902 – Women win the right to vote and right to run for election in the Federal Parliament
1943 – We got our first female Senator – Enid Lyons
1962 – Aboriginals won the right to vote in Federal elections
1965 – A woman’s right to drink in a public bar came about after the contraceptive pill in 1961!
1969 – First abortion rights after a landmark Supreme Court ruling made it lawful
1972 – The Coalition and Arbitration Commission grants equal pay for men and women (pity a lot of industries haven’t heard about this decision!)
1975 – No fault divorce introduced!
1987 – The first woman appointed as a judge in the High Court – Mary Genevieve Gaudron QC
1995 – Equal Opportunity Act amended to outlaw sexual harassment (pity a lot of men didn’t hear about this either!)
2008 – The first female Governor General – Dame Quentin Bryce
2010 – The first female Prime Minister – Julia Gillard