Gender inequality, poverty and exclusion - why social and economic rights are needed in Australia

Stream: Panel 62 - Human Rights & Democracy: Human Rights & Democracy Panel 2: The State of Human Rights Challenges in Australia
Date: Wednesday, 28 September 2016
Time: 9.00 am – 10.30 am


Full and equal participation in society rests on access by all people to the basic rights and freedoms that make democracy possible. While civil and political rights are essential, they are not enough on their own to ensure this participation. Social and economic rights that guarantee, amongst other things, people’s access to education, health, shelter and livelihood are also prerequisites for meaningful contributions to the democratic life of a country. Many Australians have benefitted from universal education, health care and social security enhancing their citizenship opportunities. But certain groups have missed out such as people with disabilities, Indigenous Australians and single mothers. The paper examines the barriers to full participation confronting poor women through the lens of social and economic rights. It argues that in a range of areas, such rights would offer more just outcomes for this group and would deepen democracy for all Australians.


Beth Goldblatt (Presenter), University of Technology Sydney
Dr Beth Goldblatt is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Technology, Sydney. She is a Visiting Fellow of the Australian Human Rights Centre in the Faculty of Law at the University of New South Wales and an Honorary Senior Research Fellow of the Faculty of Law at the University of the Witwatersrand. Her work focuses on feminist legal theory and gender, family law, equality and discrimination, comparative constitutional law, transitional justice, disability, and human rights with a focus on economic and social rights and the right to social security in particular.