It is an individual’s right to have the opportunity to reach their full potential. If that does not or cannot happen, it is a waste. Women comprise over half the population and, as such, a significant amount of public funds are invested in them. Ensuring that women, as well as men, have the opportunity to realise their maximum potential is therefore as much an economic argument as one about equality.
Women in the workforce
The Equal Pay Act 1970 was an attempt to equalise wages for men and women doing the
same or comparable work. After over 40 years of the legislation being enacted, equality in
pay between men and women has not been achieved. This shows that the legal responses weren’t very effective in attaining equality between both sexes. Recently, there has been a report published by the Women’s Business Council which is a group set up and funded by the Government that makes recommendations for women’s greater economic participation.
Non legal Responses
Women’s health has been the target of federal government funding and educating campaigns. Breast cancer screening for women over 50 years is free and is done to detect breast cancer in its early stages when it can be successfully treated. Gardasil is a vaccine used to provide immunity against two strains of the Human Papilloma Virus, which causes cervical cancer. This vaccine is free to female students in year 8. Each of these preventative health measures is government funded and backed up by advertisements to educate women on the value of having medical check-ups and receiving vaccinations.
Women’s safety has been fostered by a public education campaign at cinemas, on television, in magazines and on billboards until December 2007. The work of the campaign continues today through the Office of Women, which provides counsellors for victims and for men who harm women as well as training material on domestic violence to educate the public.