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A Long-Run View of the University Gender Gap in Australia

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  • Booth, Alison L.

    ()
    (Australian National University)

  • Kee, Hiau Joo

    ()
    (Australian National University)

Abstract

The first Australian universities were established in the 1850s, well before the introduction of compulsory schooling. However it was not until the twentieth century that growing industrialisation, technological change and the development of the so-called 'knowledge industries' fed into an increased demand in Australia for better-educated workers. As the twentieth century progressed, technological change and industrial restructuring saw a shift from brawn to brain. From the middle of the twentieth century, the introduction of mass secondary school education and the expansion of the number of universities widened access. At the same time, subjects offered in higher education increased in scope, and explicit and implicit labour market discrimination began to be eroded. These factors, together with a series of supply-side changes, meant that women were more easily able to shift into investing in the skills in which labour demand was increasing. By 1987, Australian women were more likely than men to be enrolled at university. These aggregate figures disguise considerable heterogeneity across fields of study.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4916.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Australian Economic History Review, 2011, 51 (3), 254-276.
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4916

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Keywords: Australia; higher education; gender;

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  1. Coles, Melvyn & Francesconi, Marco, 2007. "On the Emergence of Toyboys: Equilibrium Matching with Ageing and Uncertain Careers," IZA Discussion Papers 2612, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Barón, Juan D. & Cobb-Clark, Deborah A., 2008. "Occupational Segregation and the Gender Wage Gap in Private- and Public-Sector Employment: A Distributional Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 3562, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Christopher Dougherty, 2005. "Why Are the Returns to Schooling Higher for Women than for Men?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(4), pages 969-988.
  4. Borland, J., 1998. "Earnings Inequality in Australia: Changes, Causes and Consequences," CEPR Discussion Papers 390, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  5. Andrew Leigh & Chris Ryan, 2006. "How and Why has Teacher Quality Changed in Australia?," CEPR Discussion Papers 534, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  6. Alison L. Booth & Hiau Joo Kee, 2009. "The University Gender Gap in Australia: A Long-run Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 610, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  7. Hiau Joo Kee, 2006. "Glass Ceiling or Sticky Floor? Exploring the Australian Gender Pay Gap," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 82(259), pages 408-427, December.
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