From 'gentle invaders' to 'breadwinners': Australian women's increasing employment and earnings shares

Sue Richardson, Joshua Healy, Megan Moskos

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    Traditional gender roles are being disturbed by the increasing earnings of women relative to men. We document the rise in female breadwinning over the last three decades in Australia, a country which has had strong male-breadwinner norms. Australian women have increased their education, employment, hours worked and earnings both absolutely and relative to men. They have moved in large numbers from the low to high education groups, and into higher-status occupations. While starting from a much lower base, female real annual earnings per capita rose by 82 per cent, compared to a 16 per cent increase for men. Australian women now contribute to 36 per cent of employee earnings, and they are the breadwinners for a quarter of employed couples with children. The norms of men as breadwinners and women as carers face a different reality, with large and ongoing consequences for employment arrangements, family formation and the raising of children.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationAdelaide
    PublisherNational Institute of Labour Studies
    Number of pages38
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2014

    Publication series

    NameNILS working paper series
    PublisherNational Institute of Labour Studies


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