Is sexual discrimination alive and well in Geraldton?

Editor's note- The company referred to below has not been specifically named as it is not our intention to unnecessarily name and shame businesses who endeavour to serve our community. However, the issue of discrimination does affect us all and is worthy of discussion. The intention of the article is that awareness is brought to the wider issue.

Since 1984, choosing someone to work for your company based on their gender has been illegal.

In the time that has transpired it is generally agreed that our society has made good steps toward gender equality, but there is still more work to do.

Apart from the fact that gender discrimination is illegal, it's widely accepted that your sex should be no barrier for people your employment prospects. Whether you want to be a plumber or a midwife, your gender should not determine whether you have employment prospects.

But some Geraldton residents were shocked yesterday after a local business advertised a job vacancy specifically calling for a "junior male".

It's possible that the role required some physical activity or lifting, and it's quite likely that the job may appeal to more males than females. But the description of the role gave no indication as to why someone lacking a Y chromosome would not be considered for the job.

The job was posted on the business' Facebook page. One commenter did pose the question as to why a girl could not fill the role. Another local resident complained that their comment asserting sexual discrimination was hidden.

While it's quite imaginable that the person advertising the position would never consider themselves sexist, it does serve to highlight how unnecessary gender biases still pervade our culture and thinking.

Societal expectations placed on impressionable boys and girls have a strong formative effect and, sadly, can prevent both men and women considering themselves suitable for roles they might otherwise excel at.

It can go both ways of course. This author, a male, has experience the opposite where being a man prevented me from obtaining some jobs I tried to get.

A recent viral video on YouTube (37 million views and counting) sought to demonstrate how sexist our thinking still is. The video is called "#LikeAGirl".

It starts with a director asking some actresses and actors to perform certain tasks, like running or fighting, "like a girl".  As you might expect, the people performing the tasks act in a very uncoordinated fashion.

The same tasks are then given to some very young girls, who make no such effort to act uncoordinated. One young girl is asked: "What does it mean to 'run like a girl' ?"

Her response: "It means run fast as you can."

Watch the full video below.

From the Sex Discrimination Act 1984:

Discrimination in employment or in superannuation

(1) It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a person on the ground of the person's sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, intersex status, marital or relationship status, pregnancy or potential pregnancy, breastfeeding or family responsibilities:

(a) in the arrangements made for the purpose of determining who should be offered employment;

(b) in determining who should be offered employment; or

(c) in the terms or conditions on which employment is offered.