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Access to Full-Time Employment: Does Gender Matter?


  • Meg Smith

    () (University of Western Sydney)

  • Kathy Tannous

    (University of Western Sydney)


Women are participating in the labour market in higher proportions than in the past, with the female participation rate in June 2012 standing at 58.9 per cent. However, a gendered pattern of workforce engagement persists, particularly as it concerns part-time employment; 70 per cent all part-time employees are women, 46 per cent of women in paid work are employed on a part-time basis, compared to 16 per cent for men. In Australia, there has been a number of policy and regulatory changes to further support women’s participation in the workforce, including labour law decisions concerning parental leave. Family provisions test cases illustrate also the capacity for regulation to impact in a collective and positive manner on women’s paid employment. Against this policy context, this paper focuses on women’s engagement with part-time employment after they have given birth to children. It has been shown in previous studies that women are more likely, than men, to ‘choose’ part-time employment after a child is born into the family (Rose, Hewitt and Baxter, 2011; Baxter and Renda, 2011). What has not been as extensively researched is the influence of other cumulative factors on women’s employment status. Using the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey over ten waves, the paper examines the effect of child birth on women’s employment patterns, including transitions into and between full-time and part-time employment. The paper concludes by providing direction for policy makers in addressing the participation and employment equity gaps.

Suggested Citation

  • Meg Smith & Kathy Tannous, 2013. "Access to Full-Time Employment: Does Gender Matter?," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 16(2), pages 237-257.
  • Handle: RePEc:ozl:journl:v:16:y:2013:i:2:p:237-257

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    Cited by:

    1. Cheryl Carleton & Mary Kelly, 2016. "Alternative Work Arrangements and Job Satisfaction," Villanova School of Business Department of Economics and Statistics Working Paper Series 32, Villanova School of Business Department of Economics and Statistics.

    More about this item


    Labor Force; Employment; Time Allocation; Nonwage Labor Costs; Private Pensions; Wages; Policy; Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure; Domestic Abuse;

    JEL classification:

    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure


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