Women in the workplace

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The number of women in the workplace has significantly increased, with 58 per cent of Australian households having two parents working compared to only 40 per cent in 1983i. We look at the rise of women in the workplace.

The increasing number of women in the workplace brings many benefits, with a better economy and more diverse workplaces to name just a few. The rise of the female breadwinner also allows families to meet the costs of modern life, which often require dual incomes.

56 per cent of Australian women over 15 years old are employed according to the 2011 Census. Source: ii.

More women in the workplace

The increasing number of women in the workplace over the past few decades is due to a number of factors:

  1. Rising living costs - Living costs in Australia have been increasing steadily over the last several decades. The costs of modern life, such as education or childcare costs, are often only able to be met with two incomes. This means that many families are unable to cope financially unless both parents are workingi.
  2. Increased services sector - In recent years the services sector has grown, where workers are valued on an intellectual basis, allowing women to compete equallyiii.
  3. Increased access to higher education - 27 per cent of Australian women had a Bachelor degree or higher in 2012 compared with 18 per cent in 2001iv. This increase in the number of women with tertiary qualifications has boosted their job prospects and their value in the job marketiii. Women with higher levels of education are also more likely to workiii.

Benefits of more women in the workplace

It's considerably beneficial to Australian households and to our economy to have more women in the workplace.

  1. Purchasing power of women - Female consumers control 80 per cent of all purchasing decisions and make the majority of purchases on behalf of othersv.
  2. Increase in Australia's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) - Closing the gap between male and female employment rates could increase the level of Australian GDP by 11 per centvi.
  3. Increased diversity in the workplace - More women in the workplace means that a broader range of a business's customers are representedvii. Businesses can also benefit from broader perspectives and lateral thinking that comes with a diverse workforcevii. This increase in diversity has also been linked to an overall improvement in the financial performance of a businessvii.
More gender diversity in the workplace can improve the financial performance of a business.

Despite the advances for women in the workplace, women still earn less than men and find it more difficult to advance their careers as far as menix. Currently, full-time male workers in Australia are paid on average 17.5 per cent more than full-time female workers across all industriesx.

Despite the pay gap, women's income is still very important for maintaining the average Australian families' quality of life. Life insurance can help protect your family's lifestyle in case of a permanent injury, illness or death prevents you from earning an income. Contact Allianz for a quote today and protect your family's financial future.

i Cassells, R, Toohey, M, Keegan, M, and Mohanty, I 2013, 'Modern Family: The changing shape of Australian families', AMP National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling Income and Wealth Report, no.34, October, viewed 15 November 2013,

ii Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2013, 4102.0 Australian Social Trends, April 2013, viewed 15 November 2013,

iii 'Female power' 2009, The Economist, 30 December 2013, viewed 1 November 2013,

iv Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2012, 6227.0 Education and Work, Australia, May 2012, viewed 15 November 2013,

v Layne, R, Joshi, A, Maillard, M, Hodge, S, Casu, T 2008, 'Marketing Summit 2008 - Workshop Summaries', Australia Council for the Arts, 29 July, viewed 15 November 2013,

vi Goldman Sachs JBWere Investment Research 2009, Australia's Hidden Resource: The Economic Case For Increasing Female Participation, viewed 1 November 2013,

vii Ward, A 2013, 'Advancing women in the workplace – it's just good business sense', Financial Review, 4 July, viewed 1 November 2013,

viii Credit Suisse Research Institute 2012, Gender diversity and corporate performance, viewed 15 November 2013,

ix Workplace Gender Equality Agency, Australian Government 2013, About workplace gender equality, viewed 1 November 2013,

x Wade, M 2013, 'Gender pay gap widens even in sectors boasting female majority', The Sydney Morning Herald, 3 September, viewed 1 November 2013,