Department of Family and Community Services

Media release: More work to do as NSW pushes for gender equality

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06 Mar 2018

The number of women working and in leadership roles in NSW continues to steadily increase, according to the NSW Government’s ‘Then and Now’ report, a snap shot of the progress of women working in current or previously male-dominated industries.

The report, released by Minister for Women Tanya Davies today, shows women’s share of employment across a number of traditionally male dominated industries is increasing at an average rate of between two and five per cent per annum, while the number of women completing an apprenticeship or traineeship grows annually by 1.9 per cent.

“As we approach International Women’s Day this data provides an insight into how we are tracking as a state and reminds women of what’s possible,” Mrs Davies said.

Women’s unemployment in NSW has decreased by 3.8 percentage points over the past 30 years and women’s share of employment as chief executives and general managers has increased by an annual average of 4.9 per cent, from a share of 12.7 per cent to a 28.6 per cent share in 2017.

“At the end of last year in the public sector more than 37 per cent of senior leadership roles were held by women, while this makes the NSW Government more progressive than the private sector (26 per cent), there is still more work to do,” Mrs Davies said.

“Flexible workplaces are acknowledged as a major factor in attracting a diverse workforce which is why by 2019 all NSW Government roles will be flexible wherever possible and we must encourage other employers to follow our lead.”

Mrs Davies said educating young women on the range of employment and career opportunities out there and helping them reach their goals was vital to ensuring financial security and independence for women in the future.

“It’s also imperative that women are represented at decision making tables across Government and business to ensure the best outcomes for both men and women, in their public and private lives,” Mrs Davies said.

“In 1973 we had only one female Member of Parliament elected to the Legislative Assembly. Today there are 28, a statistic I am proud to be represented in, but we can still
do better.”

The NSW Government continues to work with its departments and the private sector to support a push for gender parity. A dedicated program ‘Investing in Women’ also sees ongoing Government investment in organisations that help improve women’s participation in the workforce.

One of the NSW Premier’s 12 Priorities is to drive public sector diversity with a focus on increasing the proportion of women in senior leadership roles to 50 per cent in the government sector by 2025.

To view the ‘Then and Now: A celebration of women’s achievements in NSW’ data go to the Women in NSW Report page at