Bond University

Article Title

Gender in the Labour Law and Occupational Health and Safety Law Curriculum


The primary bodies of law which regulate the paid work of women are labour law and occupational health and safety law (OHS law). Other areas of law such as anti-discrimination law or company law certainly impact on women but women’s experience of paid work is most affected by labour and OHS law. Despite the importance of these areas of law for women, labour law and OHS law curricula have remained gender-biased and women have been largely invisible within mainstream teaching (and research). They have been confined to what are effectively the “women’s pages” of the curriculum, that is issues such as equal pay, affirmative action and protective legislation. Labour law curricula have been dominated by technical questions of constitutional interpretation, by traditional analyses of the contract of employment and by statutory analysis emphasising the legal issues relevant to the control of trade unions and industrial action. They have been constructed according to traditional views of legal scholarship and have consequently emphasised the complexities of the legal issues arising from court decisions and statutory provisions. In this short paper it will be argued that the sine qua non for a gender inclusive curriculum is the rejection of traditional legal scholarship and a focus on the legal issues which are of concern to working women.