The Persistence of Gender Inequalities in Australia Workplaces: An Analysis of Two Generations

Monday, July 14, 2014: 3:30 PM
Room: F203
Oral Presentation
Jessica CROFTS , The University of Melbourne, Australia
Johanna WYN , The University of Melbourne, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
Hernan CUERVO , Youth Research Centre, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
Drawing on the two-decade Life Patterns longitudinal study that follows the lives of two generations of Australians (popularly known as Gen X and Gen Y), through their transitions from education into the workforce, this paper investigates the factors contributing to gender equality in workforce participation and in the labour market. Focusing on female participants in the Life Patterns study, we draw on qualitative and quantitative data to examine the micro and macro explanations that underpin this phenomenon. Firstly, we briefly analyse the impact of social and cultural values in the development of egalitarian approaches to the field of education that have contributed to the expansion of the participation of women in tertiary education and, subsequently, the workplace. Secondly, we focus on neoliberal sensibilities and values underpinned by the concept of choice to understand the egalitarian values that exist alongside persisting gender inequality. Finally, we argue that while institutional arrangements are needed to address persistent inequalities around women’s roles and participation at work, there is also a need to scrutinise social and cultural beliefs about work and gender to achieve greater equality.