All across Australia, the AEU has a proud tradition of advancing the rights of women in the workforce. The AEU has led the way on winning significant entitlements for working women, including:
- Equal pay
- Paid maternity leave
- Family leave with a guaranteed return to the same job
- The introduction of permanent status for part-time workers
- Paid leave to support victims of domestic violence
- The right to request part-time work after parental leave.
We decided to launch this campaign because we know that gender discrimination is still an issue in most workplaces.
As women, we are less likely to get promoted, less likely to be paid fairly and more likely to experience workplace harassment. In public schools, even though the majority of teachers are female, principals are much more likely to be male. Half of all Australian women experience workplace discrimination related to their pregnancy, across all sectors.
So on that cheery note, here’s how the union fits in.
As you probably know, trade unions exist to protect and improve workers’ conditions and wages. But our work goes beyond the workplace. The union movement globally is working for a more equitable, peaceful and just society overall. That means we advocate for the rights of people who regularly face discrimination – including women – and we do that in various ways. We provide our members with relevant, targeted training and advice, we lobby for legislative change where we see discrimination and we join forces with other activists and unions to support them in the vital work that they do.
Seeing as the vast majority of our AEU members are women, it makes sense that supporting and advocating for women’s rights should be written into our DNA.