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Gendered Assumptions in Family Law Decision-Making

Federal Law Review, Vol. 22, No. 2, pp. 278-299, 1994

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 07/37

23 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2007  

Reg Graycar

The University of Sydney Law School


As the work of feminist legal scholars has convincingly demonstrated, gendered assumptions underpin much of our law, including areas such as tort, property, tax or company law, where women are not so readily apparent. As the field of law that most overtly involves women, and deals extensively with relationships between women and men, family law shares, perhaps only with the law of sexual assault, the high visibility of women as parties or participants. It is therefore particularly susceptible to a gender analysis. However, any such analysis must take place against the background of Australia's national family law legislation, written in a gender neutral fashion, though it operates in the context of a highly gendered world with all its consequences. The purpose of this article is to suggest some of the ways in which gender might operate under Australia's national family law legislation to disadvantage women.

Keywords: gender neutrality, gendered assumptions family law, women's disadvantage, equality

JEL Classification: K10

Suggested Citation

Graycar, Reg, Gendered Assumptions in Family Law Decision-Making. ; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 07/37. Available at SSRN:

Reg Graycar (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006

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