The Cambridge Handbook of the Social Sciences in Australia

By Ian McAllister; Steve Dowrick et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter 18
Gender Politics
Patty Renfrow

Australian women obtained political rights before their counterparts in other western democracies.With the enactment of the Commonwealth Franchise Act 1902, the newly established nation of Australia was the first to grant 'white' (non-indigenous) women the right to vote and to stand for election to the national parliament. At that time, only in New Zealand could women vote in elections for the national parliament – a right obtained in 1893 – and women's suffrage was decades away for US and British women.

Notwithstanding these early, landmark victories, Australian women remained in the background of Australian history and politics for most of the twentieth century.Threequarters of a century later – in the mid-1970s – our understanding of women and politics was minimal, fragmentary, and often stereotypical. A content analysis of the journal Politics (now the Australian Journal of Political Science) between 1966 and 1978 found that articles about women in politics comprised less than 1 per cent of the publications, rising to about 4 per cent only if articles from two symposiums, on women in politics and women in society, were included (Sawer 1981a). Clearly, scholarship about gender politics was lagging behind the gains by women in social, economic and political life, where women were becoming prominent figures within political parties, standing as candidates for public office, advocating pro-women public policies – such as maternity leave – and raising the feminist awareness of men and women.

Only in the past quarter of a century has there emerged a rich, multidisciplinary research program establishing gender politics as a legitimate area of scholarly inquiry. Although there were some earlier studies of women and politics (for example, Goot and Reid 1975; Mackerras 1977, 1980, 1983; Clark and White 1983), the catalyst for the development of the broad field of gender politics in Australia was the publication of A Woman's Place:Women and Politics in Australia (Sawer and Simms 1984).This seminal book is a comprehensive exploration of women's role in Australian politics from the late-nineteenth-century struggle for women's suffrage to the second-wave feminist movement of the 1960s and 1970s. It offers one of the first systematic examinations of women's participation as political candidates and parliamentarians, and reveals the impact that women's presence has made to public policy and to the nature of politics itself.

From that starting point, research in gender politics proceeded along two broad and complementary avenues. First, research designed to correct and improve the historical

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The Cambridge Handbook of the Social Sciences in Australia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • Figures and Tables vii
  • Contributors x
  • Preface and Acknowledgements xviii
  • Introduction 1
  • References 13
  • Part 1 - Economics 15
  • Chapter 1 - Privatisation 17
  • References 27
  • Chapter 2 - Competition Policy and Regulation 31
  • References 40
  • Chapter 3 - Economics and the Environment 45
  • References 57
  • Chapter 4 - Health Economics 60
  • References 70
  • Chapter 5 - Immigration 74
  • References 87
  • Chapter 6 - Labour Market and Industrial Relations 94
  • References 113
  • Chapter 7 - Income Distribution and Redistribution 118
  • References 134
  • Chapter 8 - Taxation 138
  • References 148
  • Chapter 9 - Innovation 153
  • References 165
  • Chapter 10 - International Trade and Industry Policies 168
  • References 180
  • Chapter 11 - The Macro Economy 186
  • Notes 199
  • References 200
  • Chapter 12 - Money and Banking 203
  • References 216
  • Part 2 - Political Science 221
  • Chapter 13 - Political Theory 223
  • References 231
  • Chapter 14 - Federalism and the Constitution 234
  • References 246
  • Chapter 15 - Legislative Institutions 249
  • References 260
  • Chapter 16 - Political Parties and Electoral Behaviour 266
  • References 283
  • Chapter 17 - Electoral Systems 287
  • References 302
  • Chapter 18 - Gender Politics 305
  • References 319
  • Chapter 19 - Interest Groups and Social Movements 323
  • References 339
  • Chapter 20 - Environmental Policy and Politics 345
  • References 355
  • Chapter 21 - International Relations 358
  • Notes 368
  • References 369
  • Chapter 22 - Political Economy 374
  • References 391
  • Chapter 23 - Public Policy and Public Administration 406
  • References 422
  • Part 3 - Sociology 431
  • Chapter 24 - Patterns of Social Inequality 433
  • References 457
  • Chapter 25 - Families and Households 462
  • References 477
  • Chapter 26 - Gender Perspectives 480
  • References 493
  • Chapter 27 - Work and Employment 499
  • Notes 511
  • References 512
  • Chapter 28 - Crime and Deviance 518
  • References 531
  • Chapter 29 - Health and Illness 536
  • References 552
  • Chapter 30 - Population 554
  • References 569
  • Chapter 31 - Race, Ethnicity and Immigration 573
  • Notes 585
  • References 586
  • Chapter 32 - Urban and Regional Sociology 590
  • Reference 598
  • Chapter 33 - Rural Sociology 604
  • Reference 619
  • Chapter 34 - Religion and Spirituality 626
  • Reference 632
  • Chapter 35 - Cultural Studies, Australian Studies and Cultural Sociology 638
  • References 651
  • Chapter 36 - Sociological Theory 654
  • References 664
  • Chapter 37 - Social Policy and Social Welfare 666
  • References 674
  • Author Index 678
  • Subject Index 696
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