Essay by in4eto84A-, April 2006

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Gender identity is the base that forms individuals' perceptions about their role in society. Australia, as a liberal democratic nation ensures equality of opportunity for all members of the society, regardless of their gender (Study Guide 1007AMC 1999). However, it could be argued that gender based inequalities still exist in the Australian contemporary society. In order to investigate gender discrimination, the terms sexism and feminism will be defined. Secondly, gender inequalities will be discussed according to the Faucauldian feminist Sandra Lee Barkty, Simon French and R.W. Connell. Finally, statistical information will provide further evidence in relation to female discrimination.

In order to discuss inequalities based on gender, the terms sexism and feminism need to be defined. Sexism is identified as 'attitudes or beliefs which falsely attribute or deny certain capacities to one of the sexes to justify social inequalities' (Bullbeck 1998:512). Sexism is discrimination between people based on their gender rather than their individual merits (Bullbeck 1998).

According to the dictionary definition of feminism is defined as a movement demanding 'the full social, political and economic equality of men and women' (Richards 2005). The next section of the essay will discuss gender identity according to the Faucauldian feminist Sandra Lee Barkty and Simon French.

Gender identity, which is defined as the performance of socially acceptable role is discussed by Sandra Lee Barkty and Simon French. Barkty argues from cultural sociological perspective that femininity and the way female bodies are disciplined by the capitalist society, produces many gender inequalities (Study Guide 1007AMC 1999). Barkty (1999) states that gender inequalities occur because the way females' bodies are disciplined differs to males'. Established norms of beauty are accepted as natural as they result in feminine being (Hughes 1997). However, behaviour that resists feminisation is seen as 'unnatural' and women that do not...