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Are we there yet? advancing women at work in Canada and Australia

Differences in opportunities and outcomes in the workplace are inherent in a free and competitive market. However, when differences between individuals and groups are identified as resulting from particular policies, behaviours or attitudes, any resulting inequality may be identified as unfair. Increasingly, unfair disparities in societies and their workplaces are regularly challenged. Many of the unfair disparities are recognised as caused by unfair discrimination (Anker, 1997). The International Labour Organization Convention (ILO) No. 111 (ILO, 1958) defines discrimination asany distinction, exclusion or preference made on the basis of race, colour, sex, religion, political opinion, national extraction, or social origin, which has the effect of nullifying or impairing equality of opportunity or treatment in employment or occupation’. Yet, the argument for addressing this ideal ofequality of opportunity’ is complex. Ekmekci (2013) identifies the difficulties as the determination of whether any process should be based on equality of opportunity or equality of outcome. In addition, there is the difficulty of determining what exactly constitutes a process for addressing unfair disparity due to the haziness of what constitutes discrimination and controversy in the meaning as well as policy implications of equality (Tomei, 2003).