The Influence of Gender on Pathways out of Secondary School: Evidence from Australia

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 5:50 PM
Room: Booth 42
Oral Presentation
Sandra BUCHLER , Sociology I, Otto-Friedrich-Universitšt Bamberg, Bamberg, Germany
The motivation for this research is twofold.  First, women’s increased educational attainment, relative to that of men, is expected to give women greater access to favourable and good quality positions on the labour market.  Second, the growth of the service sector (and the reduced importance of the production sector) in post-industrial societies have been predicted to increase women’s employment opportunities (and decrease those of men).  Despite these changes women’s disadvantage in the labour market is persistent.   A common explanation given for these gender differences is women’s greater responsibility for child care and unpaid household labour.  However, differences in family responsibilities between men and women at the age when young people leave education and transition into work are largely negligible.  This represents an important life-phase where gender differences can be examined when young people are already in the labour market, but before the gendered division of familial roles is expected to restrict women’s participation in paid employment.  Using data from the Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth (LSAY) collected from 1995 to 2006 this study examines gender in the school-work transition in two stages.  First we examine the most common educational pathways and the distribution of men and women in these pathways.  Second, we explore the characteristics of an individual’s first significant job and how this is influenced by gender, education and a range of background variables (such as socio-economic background, language spoken at home, and school achievement tests).  We expect gender to play a substantial role in shaping the educational pathways and first significant job outcomes of young people in Australia.

This research comprises the Australian country study for the second phase of the ‘Education as a Lifelong Process – Comparing Educational Trajectories in Modern Societies (eduLIFE)’ project.