A Kaleidoscope View of Law and Culture: The Australian Sex Discrimination Act 1984
International Journal of the Sociology of Law, pp. 51-73, 2001
24 Pages Posted: 19 Nov 2009 Last revised: 18 Jun 2018
Date Written: 2001
The Sex Discrimination Law 1984 (SDA) and State and territory equivalents are described in this paper as an example of how some of the lenses of this dominocentric kaleidoscope of reality, such as beliefs about gender, sex, discrimination and harassment within the society affect the construction and the implementation of legislation. Laws aimed mostly at ‘formal equality’ (the idea that we all aspire to be treated alike) are premised upon a male dominated system of standards and norms. Exclusions, constructs of comparability and equality are just three ways that the legislation fits within a society that pivots around European middle class male ideals and behaviours. Neither exhaustive nor exclusive to the issue of gender and discrimination law, these are discussed along with other assumptions, holistic context and dominocentric emphases in aetiology, process and implementation of the SDA. I look at several in some detail to better comprehend how the experiences of women, including simply what it is like to be a female victim of discrimination, are often excluded in law’s kaleidoscope.
Keywords: sexual discrimination, harassment
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