Australia and other countries around the world continue to struggle in progressing gender equality in the workforce: the gender pay gap remains prevalent, and women are less likely to advance professionally compared to men, due to gender-based barriers. This paper examines the Australian public, political and academic debate around the topic of women, work and industrial relations in 2017.
Throughout 2017, public interest, parliamentary debate and academic research about women, work and industrial relations centred around a few key themes: pay and income inequality, health and well-being at work and the intersection of paid and unpaid work. These themes were identified in three related yet distinct mediums: the media, parliamentary debate and academic literature. Automated content analysis software was used to assist in the thematic analysis of media articles and the House of Representatives Hansard, supplemented by a manual analysis of relevant academic publications. A thematic overlap was evident across the three datasets, despite the time lag associated with academic research and publication. This is a significant finding, emphasising that the inequalities experienced by women in the labour market are long term and entrenched.