Women’s Health Data: Employment
Employment, or labour force participation, is a measure of the number of people aged 15 years and over who are engaged in work activities. Rates of employment, superannuation and wage gaps influence women’s socioeconomic wellbeing and health. Economic conditions are a powerful determinant of women’s health and wellbeing throughout their lives.
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Women’s average weekly earnings are $849.90, while men’s average weekly earnings are $1,357.101.
Victorian women have lower graduate starting salaries ($49,000) than Victorian men ($52,000), and a lower starting salary than women nationally ($50,000)2.
In 2013, 71% of women aged 15 to 64 years were participating in the labour force nationally, 12% lower than the rate for men2.
46% of women in employment work part time hours. Of those women working part time, 22% reported that they would prefer to work more hours2.
In 2009-10, 69% of women and 74% of men had superannuation2.
On average, women reach retirement age with $87,532 superannuation, 36% less than men2.
Women are two and a half times more likely to live in poverty in their old age than men, because they have contributed so much less to superannuation3.
Women tend to retire earlier than men and, when they do, they usually rely on a government pension or allowance (39%) or on a partner’s income (44%)4.
Just over half (54%) of retired Australia women over 45 years of age contributed to superannuation schemes while they were working, compared to 75% of men4.
Women make up the majority of Australians aged 45 years and over who had previously retired, but have now returned to the labour force or are planning to look for work4.
Of women who had retired before returning to the labour force, 87% had found work and 13% were planning to look for, or take up, work in the future4
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women
The participation rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in the workforce is 49%, compared to 62% for men5
The unemployment rate for Indigenous women living in major cities is 14%, whereas the rate for Indigenous men living in major cities is 12%5.
Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women will experience disability and infirmity, forcing an early retirement from employment6
It is not known what percentage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women hold superannuation savings, as fund managers do not collect data on Aboriginality or any other ethnicity6
Women from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds
Migrant women have a lower participation rate in the workforce (52%) than Australian-born women (60%). This may, in part, be due to lower levels of English proficiency and limited labour market experience prior to migration7.
Women from CALD backgrounds are generally not able to access the full benefits from superannuation because they are often in casual and precarious work, and may be in and out of work due to family responsibilities and/or unavailability of jobs8.
Women with low English ability and/or awareness of Australian workplace laws and entitlements are at high risk of harassment, bullying, and underpayment8.
Women with disabilities
41.5% of Victorian women with a disability report needing more formal assistance than they receive2.
47% of women with a disability participate in the labour force, significantly lower than the 59% of men with a disability who participate in the labour force9.
19% of women who want a job or more hours of work have a long term sickness or disability which prevents them from achieving their goal10.
Same-sex attracted women
- Issues for ageing lesbians include a lack of recognition of female partners as next of kin, and difficulty accessing superannuation and health insurance benefits as a same-sex couple11.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. Average weekly earnings, Australia, May 2013. Cat no. 6302.0. Canberra: ABS; 2013 [cited 3 September 2013]. Available from: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Latestproducts/6302.0Main%20Features4May%202013?opendocument&tabname=Summary&prodno=6302.0&issue=May%202013&num=&view=. ↩
- COAG Reform Council. Tracking equity: Comparing outcomes for women and girls across Australia Report to the Council of Australian Governments21 October 2013. [cited 20 November 2013] Available from: http://www.coagreformcouncil.gov.au/reports/gender-equity/tracking-equity-comparing-outcomes-women-and-girls-across-australia. ↩
- Cassells R, Miranti R, Nepal B & Tanton R. She works hard for the money, Income and Wealth Report, Issue 22, p. 34. Canberra: AMP with National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling: 2009 [cited 9 December 2013] Available from: http://www.natsem.canberra.edu.au/publications/?publication=ampnatsem-income-and-wealth-report-issue-22-she-works-hard-for-the-money. ↩
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retirement and retirement intentions, Australia, July 2010 to June 2011. Cat no. 6238.0. Canberra: ABS; 2011 [cited 3 September 2013] Available from: http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Latestproducts/6238.0Main%20Features3July%202010%20to%20June%202011?opendocument&tabname=Summary&prodno=6238.0&issue=July%202010%20to%20June%202011&num=&view=. ↩
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. Labour Force Characteristics of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, Estimates from the Labour Force Survey, 2011.Cat. no. 6287.0. Canberra: ABS; 2012 [cited 9 December 2013]. Available from: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Products/6287.0~2011~Chapter~Participation. ↩
- National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Alliance. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and superannuation. Melbourne: First Nations Foundation;2013[cited 9 December 2013] Available from: http://www.fnf.org.au/financial-inclusion.html. ↩
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian social trends 2006 –Labour force participation of migrants. Cat. no. 4102.0; 2006 [cited 23 December 2010]. Available from: http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/4102.02006?OpenDocument. ↩
- Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia. Women’s Policy Statement2012: Supporting Australian Women from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Backgrounds.Deakin:2012 [cited 9 December 2013] Available from: http://www.fecca.org.au/images/stories/pdfs/fecca%20womens%20policy%202012.pdf. ↩
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. Measures of Australia’s progress, 2010. Cat. No. 1370.0. Canberra: ABS; 2011 [cited 3 September 2013] Available from: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/lookup/by%20subject/1370.0~2010~Chapter~Map%20downloads%20(8). ↩
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. Barriers and Incentives to Labour Force Participation, Australia, July 2012 to June 2013. Cat. no. 6239.0. Canberra: ABS; 2013 [cited 9 December 2013] Available from: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Latestproducts/6239.0Main%20Features3July%202012%20to%20June%202013?opendocument&tabname=Summary&prodno=6239.0&issue=July%202012%20to%20June%202013&num=&view=. ↩
- McNair, R. Lesbian health inequalities: a cultural minority issue for health professionals. MJA: The Medical Journal of Australia. 178 (12): 643-645. Also available online: EMJA; 2003 [cited 4 December 2013] Available from: http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/178_12_160603/mcn10852_fm.html. ↩
Published: February 2014
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