married women were no longer forced to relinquish their paid work and forfeit their superannuation rights in the Commonwealth Public Service.


the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission granted equal pay for men and women making one million female workers eligible for full pay.
This represented an overall rise in women’s wages of around 30 per cent. It wasn’t until 1974 that the minimum wage was extended to include women workers. Today, men working full-time still earn nearly $27,000 a year more than women working full-time.


1972 saw the contraceptive pill put on the National Health Scheme and the luxury tax on it abolished.


the Maternity Leave (Commonwealth Employees Act) provided public servants with 12 weeks paid (and 40 weeks unpaid) maternity leave.
Also, significant government funding went towards women’s health centres, child care centres, working women’s centres and Equal Employment Opportunity policies.


1975 saw the first funding for women’s refuges, and also The Family Law Act establishes the principle of no-fault divorce in Australian law.


women employed for more than 12 months were entitled to 52 weeks unpaid maternity leave.


1986 saw the first woman Speaker in the House of Representatives (Joan Child), and also the first woman to lead a political party (Janine Haines).


Australia’s first female premiers were appointed: in Victoria (Joan Kirner AC) and in Western Australia (Carmen Lawrence).


NSW appointed it’s 39th Governor.  Margaret Beazley QC is the second woman to hold the position in more than 200 years.


25.8% of all employed persons are women working full time, and 21.6% are women working part time. Women represent 37.7% of all full-time employees and 68.2% of all part time employees in Australia. Average weekly full-time earnings for women are 13.9% less than for men, average superannuation balances are 20.5% lower for women than those of men.

Women hold only 14.1% of chair positions, 26.8% of directorships, represent 17.1% of CEOS and 31.5% of key management personnel. 70.9% of reporting organisations in Australia have male-only teams of key management personnel.

Yet more women achieve their year 12 qualifications, bachelor degree (or above) and postgraduate degrees than men.

In an age where discrimination has been largely eliminated from our laws, it’s important to remember that many of these rights have only been granted relatively recently.  Right now, women are still reporting sexual harassment at work, public vilification for breastfeeding in public, and even job interviews where they’re asked inappropriate questions around their marital status and plans to have children.

The journey isn’t over yet. It’s up to all of us to make sure the hard-won rights over the past few decades aren’t eroded or forgotten. And to work together to secure equality, and an even better future for Australian women.