Women’s Rights – Useful Links

By David Donaldson

This piece is part of our September focus on Women’s Rights. Read more articles on this theme here.

This month on Right Now we’re focusing on women’s rights. Below you’ll find some useful links to get you thinking about the many different issues related to women’s rights. If you get inspired to contribute, you can find out more by reading our callout for submissions.


Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women

Passed at the United Nations General Assembly 1979, came into force in 1981. The Convention has been ratified or acceded to by all states except the Vatican, Iran, Palau, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Tonga, and the United States. The United States and Palau have signed it, but not ratified. (This often happens with the United States – the Executive signs on to a treaty, but must have two-thirds support in the Congress in order to become US law).

The Convention has been criticised by some states for promotion of Western feminism, the subversion of traditional gender roles, and the promotion of abortion rights.

List of declarations and reservations to the Convention treaty (see Australia)

Australia claims there are legal issues with enforcing the Convention with regard to paid maternity leave (due to our federal system of government), and with regard to women serving in combat duties in the Australia Defence Force.

Australian Sex Discrimination Act 1984

The current law on sex discrimination in Australia.

Australian Human Rights Commission – Sex Discrimination

The Australian Human Rights Commission identifies five priority areas in addressing sex discrimination:

  • Balancing paid work and family and caring responsibilities;
  • Ensuring women’s lifetime economic security;
  • Promoting women in leadership;
  • Preventing violence against women and sexual harassment;
  • Strengthening national gender equality laws, agencies and monitoring.

This page contains lots of links to information relating to these areas.

The AHRC’s current project areas include:

  • Valuing Unpaid Caring Work in Australia Research Project ;
  • 2012 Australian visit of UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Rashida Manjoo ;
  • Review of the treatment of women in the Australian Defence Force Academy and in Australian Defence Force Policies;
  • International Women’s Day – March 8.

A further list of resources can be found on the Australian Human Rights Commission sex discrimination page.

Australian Human Rights Commission- Human Rights and Women Toolkit

This tool kit sets out what women’s rights means in Australia and what the limits of existing protections are. It also sets out how these protections could be improved and focuses especially on the issue of an Australian Bill of Rights.

UN Women

The United Nations body for Women’s Rights. Contains information and resources about world women’s issues and the United Nations’ involvement in the pursuit of women’s rights.


Sex workers

Scarlet Alliance

Contains information on laws, research, current issues and education around sex work issues in Australia.


Violence Against Women

White Ribbon Campaign

The White Ribbon Campaign aims to end violence against women. Contains links to policy research, fact sheets, video resources, and information about the campaign.

The Impact of Housing on the lives of Women and Children Post Domestic Violence Crisis Accommodation Report

This is a 2009 report looking at the role of women’s shelters in assisting women and their children escape violent partners. It highlights a range of policy issues preventing better outcomes, including availability of housing, length of stay and stability, co-operation between agencies, confusing bureaucratic procedure,  and affordability.

4 Corners Report on Domestic Homicides and Women, Aug 8, 2012

Tells the story of two women who were murdered by their male partners. Issues are raised about how police and women’s services addressed these women’s requests for help.


Women and Work

Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA)

Contains a lot of information on issues relating to women and work, including a useful resource section.

EOWA Pay Gap Fact Sheet

EOWA Workplace Statistics at a Glance Fact Sheet

EOWA Indigenous Women and Work

Includes a few links and a fact sheet on the issue.

Australian Working Women’s Centres

Organisation that supports primarily groups of women under-represented in the workforce. Contains links to a number of WWC’s own reports and submissions relating to women and work.


Australian Women’s Health Network

Contains links and discussion papers relating to women’s health in Australia.


Australian Defence Force

Women in Defence

Women make up 13.9 per cent of the permanent full-time ADF, and 7.9 per cent of Colonel and above ranks. Contains some information about women in the ADF, how the ADF is changing its policies on women, and a brief history of women in the ADF.