As we take a broader view of the Australian employment landscape, a very different picture emerges. The inaugural census of women in business (released in 2002) surveyed the top 152 companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange and reported that women held 8.4% of executive management positions, 52.6% of companies had no women executive managers, only 17.8% of companies have two or more women executive managers, and women held just 5% of all line positions. At the Board Director level, women held 8.2% of directorships but 46.7% of companies had no women directors, and 9.9% of companies had two or more women directors. Not surprisingly, given the small numbers of women in core executive positions, just two of Australia's top 200 listed companies employed a woman as CEO. The census itself has enabled focus to be created, and will ensure the trend is positive when we next measure the number of women in senior roles (Evans, 2003)." final element that may be contributing to the high percentage of females entering the professional fields in Australia as compared to the men entering the same fields is the current divorce rate (Anjali, 2004). The divorce rate in Australia is higher than ever before. Coupled with this is the fact that women are now encouraged to wait to marry and instead have a life of their own for several years before agreeing to settle down with a lifetime mate.
Single women need to support not only themselves but in many instances they have family obligations as well (Anjali, 2004).
When a woman gets divorced and has to support her children she wants to be able to do so in the best lifestyle she can provide for them. Entering the professional world is one way to insure that she can do that (Anjali, 2004).
The number of single women in Australia today is climbing. Statistically they are waiting several years later than in recent history before they agree to settle down in a marriage of a live-in arrangement.
Because of this they are in need of incomes similar to a man's so that they may support themselves and their families.
A side note about why women in Australia are entering the professions more often then men at this current time in history may also have a tie to world wide events.
The process of globalization has impacted the entire world. It has allowed cultures and nations to take a peek inside other cultures and nations whereas before they were not privy to what went on there.
Today women all over the world are experiencing growth, both economically and personally and it is not surprising that in a follow the leader type style the "bug" is spreading. Whether American women, Australian women or women from England demand better positions and better pay rates the news of those demands spread to other areas and the women there may follow suit.
This may have a contributing and significant influence on how and why Australian professional females are on the rise when compared to decades past.
Studies have recently concluded that the "need" for a man in a woman's life on a worldwide scale is on the decline.
Female economic empowerment compounded with relatively lower male educational attainment has had profound effects on the psychological and social aspects of dating and mating. As more and more women are not economically dependent upon a man, their desire to have someone offer them what they cannot give themselves (e.g. psychologically, economically, and socially) raises the bar on acceptability. Anthropologists and biologists have long ago concluded that male mating is driven by the need for a sexual partner who can provide offspring and care for them (sic: young, attractive, and healthy); female mating is motivated by the desire or need for security and reliability (wealthy, ambitious, industrious, and having status) (Anjali, 2004)."
Women around the globe have realized that they can have these things without depending on a man to provide them.
Australian workers have been studied for many years. Today's workforce is comprised of genders in almost all positions and professions. Statistically women are currently entering the professional arena at a higher rate than their male counterparts are doing. Several reasons for this change in percentages exist. The fact that women are becoming more educated, they need the money to support their families following divorce, and the education helps the gain the confidence to obtain better jobs have all been illuminated as possible contributing factors. In addition, companies may be more inclined to hire women so that they will not be accused of discrimination and they will be able to apply for business loans that require them to have females executives on staff.
Women are working toward true equality in the Australian workforce and as they continue enter the professions the playing field will become even more level.
Pryor, Lisa (2005) Women lead the march back into the workforce.(survey results on female employees in Australia)(Brief Article)
Australasian Business Intelligence
NSW: Women overtaking men in workforce participation rate
AAP General News (Australia); 11/29/2005
Jefferson, Therese (2005) Women and retirement incomes in Australia: a review*.
Evolution, evidence and enterprise: women in leadership in the Australian healthcare industry.(Lecture in Honour Dietitians Association of Australia National Conference 2003)
Evans, Sally (2003) Nutrition & Dietetics: The Journal of the Dieticians Association of Australia; 12/1/2003;
Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency. Australian Census of Women in Leadership. Sydney: EOWA; 2002.
Anjal, Roy (2004) Single professional women: a global phenomenon challenges and opportunities.