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Australia

  • By: JaneMaree Maher
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Australia is distinguished by a strong pronatalist approach to women's roles, with considerable emphasis placed on reproduction as an important national good. This underpins Australian social policies in regard to mothers and children, except where issues of race or immigration arise. Australia's social policies to support women and children have varied in the two centuries since colonization, with limited success in supporting gender equity and care. Contemporary Australian women continue to carry key responsibilities for mothering and caring, while they are encouraged to contribute in the paid workforce, too.

Australia's Colonial Past

Australia's colonial history is central to mothers' experiences and mothering practice within the country. When Australia was colonized in the 18th century, the mothering relationships of indigenous Australian women were interrupted, often brutally; this pattern ...

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