Gender: From Male Breadwinner to the Independent Adult Worker



This chapter builds on chapter one’s argument that initially in both Australia and internationally, social democracy’s mission was largely conceived in terms of improving the pay and conditions of a white, heterosexual, male breadwinner head of household. It points out that such constructions were contested by feminists as early as the nineteenth century. This chapter documents how Australian Labor governments from the nineteen seventies on increasingly incorporated conceptions of gender equality into their policies. However, as discussed in the case of race in the previous chapter, Labor has sometimes attempted to incorporate issues of race and ethnicity within their pre-existing policy frameworks, including those influenced by neoliberalism, and has sometimes underestimated the influence of ongoing cultural discrimination, including backlashes against gender equality. While the chapter predominantly focuses on Australian material, international examples are given from a range of countries, including France, Spain, Britain and Sweden in order to demonstrate the broader relevance of the Australian examples.


Social democracy Equality Gender Women Equal pay Neoliberalism 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Politics and International RelationsUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

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