Will Deregulating the Labor Market in Australia Improve the Employment Conditions of Women?
This article traces the development of policies designed to reduce gender workforce inequality in Australia. In contrast to earlier centralized and collective approaches, current strategy is founded on individualism and direct workplace bargaining. The location of reform is now the enterprise, with direct bargaining replacing collective standards. Current policy developments have seen gender subsumed under market imperfections and family responsibilities. These policies will remove many of the safeguards of minimum pay and conditions for women workers, especially those who are most vulnerable. When combined with the growth of "nonstandard" jobs the picture is bleak for many workers, especially the low paid. The onus for corrective action now rests with individual employees and workplace managers, with trade unions being marginalized. The authors suggest that a continuation of the current policy will wind back the clock on the employment conditions of women workers in Australia.