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Our history

[I]n any enlightened society in 1978 … it is usually assumed that old fashioned prejudices and bigotry against minorities should be forgotten as quickly as possible as subjects of shame perpetuated by our less educated and less tolerant forebears.
- Equal Opportunity Board, First Annual Report, 1978.

Take a look at the From the archives section below for some of the interesting material we've come across while working on this project.

Victoria's very quiet revolution

Forty years ago Victoria became only the third state in Australia to introduce anti-discrimination laws, targeting discrimination on the basis of sex and marital status in employment. (The two other states with similar legislation were South Australia and New South Wales).

Victoria’s Equal Opportunity Act 1977 created the Equal Opportunity Board and the Office of the Equal Opportunity Commissioner.

Now we are delving into our archives to research the history of our organisation, equal opportunity legislation and social attitudes over the past three-and-a-half decades.

Some discoveries are surprising because they appear so radically different to today’s views, such as the segregated lists of suggested occupations provided to boys and girls in school the late 1970s.

 List of separate occupations for boys and girls

(Image from Equal Opportunity Board, Second Annual Report, 1979).

Others are alarming because they show that we’re still battling to change the same outdated attitudes and practices thirty years on, such as access to public transport for people with disabilities.

Cartoon of wheelchair user calling for a taxi as one zooms by without stopping.

(Image from disability pamphlet reprinted in Equal Opportunity Board, Sixth Annual Report, 1983)

We look forward to sharing more gems from our research with you as we work to create a comprehensive history of Victoria’s Equal Opportunity Commission.

From the archives

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