Media Comparisons Women In The Military

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Gender inequality has continuously been a controversial issue in society. Overall women have been disadvantaged as a result of gender related biases especially in male dominated fields. This essay examines the social issue of discrimination of women in the Australian military as it has been reported by two news websites: The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) and The Australian, in the context of the Federal government’s decision to remove all gender-based restrictions in the military. Using the work of McCombs and Shaw on agenda setting theory, this essay will argue that the more centrist approach taken by The SMH and the more conservative one taken by The Australian aim to persuade their readers to either approve or disapprove of the government’s decision. To achieve this, it will firstly provide an overview of gender inequality and discrimination in the military, using research to show how women have been disadvantaged and excluded from certain roles. Secondly, it will compare and contrast the media coverage of this issue by the SMH and The Australian, using the work of McCombs and Shaw to explain how the different approaches aim to influence public opinion on the issue. Finally, it will link this discussion to the social issue of gender to demonstrate how the media portrays gender when regarding the issue of discrimination against women in the military. The integration of women into the military and particularly in combat roles has always been a divisive issue. Although Federal Parliament passed the Sex Discrimination Act in 1984 allowing women the right to equal opportunity in the workplace, the Australian Defense Force (ADF) gained an exemption allowing them to exclude women from serving in combat duties (Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 2004). Research reveals that prohibiting women from serving in combat roles limits their opportunities to pursue leadership

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