This presentation draws on developments in 'reflexive' or 'responsive' regulatory thinking to examine the effectiveness of Australia's Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999 (Cth) (‘EOWWA’), in prompting, enabling and holding accountable corporate self-regulatory efforts to eliminate systemic discrimination and promote substantive
equality for women in employment. The EOWWA is unique in the landscape of Australian anti-discrimination laws as it recognises the potential of a positive duty on employers to identify, assess and alter structures and practices that perpetuate workplace inequality. However, there are serious weaknesses in its legislative design and implementation (which relies on selling a 'business case' to employers) that thwart its regulatory responsiveness. Reflecting on the experience of the UK’s Equality Duty, there are lessons for Australia’s current reform of its anti-discrimination laws which could enhance their reflexive regulatory potential to bring about institutional change and advance equal opportunity for women and other disadvantaged groups in the workplace.