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Is Australia Really a World Leader in Closing the Gender Gap?


  • Angela Barns
  • Alison Preston


In the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2006 Global Gender Gap report, Australia was highlighted as a world leader in closing the gender gap. With reference to the Economic Participation and Opportunity Index (one of four components in the WEF Gender Gap Index (GGI)), this article assesses whether or not Australia is deserving of this recognition. Closer analysis shows that convergence in the participation gap flowed from increased participation in part-time, low-paid, and precarious jobs. Research also shows that women's entry into professional jobs has led to the feminization of some positions and that vertical segregation remains an ongoing problem. In highlighting these disparities, this article questions the capacity of the GGI to provide an adequate understanding of women's labor market participation and economic attainment.

Suggested Citation

  • Angela Barns & Alison Preston, 2010. "Is Australia Really a World Leader in Closing the Gender Gap?," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(4), pages 81-103.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:16:y:2010:i:4:p:81-103 DOI: 10.1080/13545701.2010.530607

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Tania Burchardt, 2008. "Time and Income Poverty," CASE Reports casereport57, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
    2. Wodon, Quentin & Beegle, Kathleen, 2006. "Labor Shortages Despite Underemployment? Seasonality in Time Use in Malawi," MPRA Paper 11083, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Alan Gelb, 2001. "Gender and Growth : Africa's Missed Potential," World Bank Other Operational Studies 9789, The World Bank.
    4. Haddad, Lawrence, 1999. "The income earned by women: impacts on welfare outcomes," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 20(2), pages 135-141, March.
    5. Apps, Patricia, 2003. "Gender, Time Use and Models of the Household," IZA Discussion Papers 796, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. C. Mark Blackden & Quentin Wodon, 2006. "Gender, Time Use, and Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7214.
    7. Christiaensen, Luc & Scott, Christopher & Wodon, Quentin, 2002. "Poverty Measurement and Analysis," MPRA Paper 45362, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Maria Sagrario Floro & Marjorie Miles, 2003. "Time use, work and overlapping activities: evidence from Australia," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(6), pages 881-904, November.
    9. Hoddinott, John & Haddad, Lawrence, 1995. "Does Female Income Share Influence Household Expenditures? Evidence from Cote d'Ivoire," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 57(1), pages 77-96, February.
    10. Haddad, Lawrence, 1999. "The income earned by women: impacts on welfare outcomes," Agricultural Economics of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 20(2), March.
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