Australia has made good progress towards achieving gender equality in recent times. However, women still experience inequality and discrimination in many important parts of their lives.

At work, women continue to face a gender ‘pay gap’ and barriers to leadership roles. Many encounter reduced employment opportunities because of the time they give to family and caring responsibilities.

Sexual harassment and gender-based violence also threaten women’s basic right to feel safe and respected at work, in public, in places of study and at home.

The Sex Discrimination Act 1984 gives effect to Australia’s international human rights obligations and promotes equality between women and men.

The Act protects people from unfair treatment on the basis of their sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, intersex status, marital or relationship status, pregnancy and breastfeeding. It also protects workers with family responsibilities and makes sexual harassment against the law.

People who experience direct or indirect discrimination can complain to the Commission.

The Commission works in partnership with a broad range of groups to promote gender equality and counter discrimination, sexual harassment, violence against women and other barriers to equality. We also act to overcome discrimination, harassment and hostility toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex, trans and gender diverse people in Australia.

We undertake major research projects and provide policy advice to government and others to bring about positive change.

The Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins, leads this work.

Under the Sex Discrimination Act, the Sex Discrimination Commissioner's focus is to address sex discrimination and promote gender equality in five priority areas set out in the Gender Equality Blueprint 2010.

Get involved

Find out how you can get involved in other parts of the Commission’s work and help make human rights a reality for everyone, everywhere, everyday.