Society in Australia has changed a great deal in the past few decades. Often people complain about changes in attitudes claiming there has been a drop in values but many improvements have also come about. Unfortunately there will always be inequalities and policies that don’t work in practice.
I would not want to go back a few decades to a time when a woman had to resign from her job when she married. Depending on the time and the field she was employed in she may have been able to reapply for her job and start at the bottom of the pay system after the wedding. Of course it was likely she would soon be pregnant because it was expected she would start a family and anyway contraception options were limited.
You can keep the days when women were paid less than men even if they were doing the same work. It was expected that a man had need of a higher wage as he would be the bread winner. There was less freedom and support for women and those in abusive marriages were generally stuck there.
Today there are more opportunities for women to hold senior and managerial positions. Although there are still inequalities and more men are in the higher paying jobs there has been an increase in the number of women holding these jobs.
There is ongoing prejudice and discrimination but attitudes have changed in this country and there have been advances over the decades. Legislation now makes many forms of discrimination unlawful. People are more aware of the concept of ‘equality’ and the rights of minority groups. Some continue to hold traditional ideas about homosexuality, racial issues and the rights of people with disabilities and they do not agree with changing attitudes. However, many have become accustomed to the changes and memories of how things really were ‘in the good old days’ are becoming blurry.
Australia is now home to people of a wide variety of racial and cultural backgrounds. Yes, this has brought some challenges and conflict between different groups is disturbing. However it has also brought a greater diversity and a richer cultural experience. Hopefully, in time there will be greater understanding and harmony between people of different ethnic groups and cultural backgrounds.
Wait here for the driver to put out the ramp
As I look around and notice improved access for people in wheelchairs I reflect how much things have improved. Gone are the days when someone in a wheelchair who wanted to travel by train was put in the windowless guard’s van with the boxes of goods and the mail bags. These days people who use a wheelchair can travel with the other passengers, look out the window and watch the world go by.
Access cabs are available to many wheelchair users. Ramps provide access to more buildings now, there are more elevators and wheelchair accessible toilets are becoming common. There are still access problems and many (probably most) houses are not wheelchair friendly but the situation is better than in the past. Facilities for people with other disabilities are improving and innovations are breaking down some of the barriers.
There is increased support in the form of housing, financial benefits, support groups and information for those in need. The rights of all people regardless of age, race, disability, gender and sexual preference are promoted. There is some support available for those suffering abuse and domestic violence. More needs to be done to protect the rights of vulnerable people, including children but there is a greater awareness.
There are too many people experiencing poverty. Having said that, there are programs and agencies which attempt to improve opportunities for those in financial difficulty. These did not exist a few decades ago.
Every period of time has its advantages and disadvantages. Sometimes we can pick some good aspects from the past and incorporate them into modern life. We can learn some lessons from the past. I have no desire to turn back the clock. There are too many opportunities for me here in the present time.