Department of Family and Community Services

Women & Work

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Access to paid work is vital for the economic and social independence of women and to the economic development of NSW.

The NSW Government recognises the need to increase gender equality in the workforce as well as in voluntary and unpaid work.

The workforce makeup

Although 57 per cent of women* in NSW participate in the labour force, 41 per cent of working women are employed part-time (less than 35 hours per week). By comparison, men make up 70 per cent of the workforce and only 15 per cent work part-time.

Among full-time workers, men still earn 14 per cent more each week than women.

Women are also more likely to be casual workers. 28 per cent of women in NSW are employed on a casual basis, without leave entitlements, compared to 21 per cent of men.

Gender segregation

The division between 'women's jobs' and 'men's jobs' remains a central characteristic of the Australian and NSW workforces, today as in past decades.

Only 10 per cent of jobs in the construction industry and 11 per cent of jobs in the mining sector in NSW are performed by women, which contrasts with the large numbers of women working the healthcare, social assistance and education and training areas.

The NSW Government is working to increase the number of women working in non-traditional trades which are high-demand, well-paid jobs that up until now have been traditionally performed by men.

Women NSW’s agenda in this area is guided by the NSW Council for Women’s Economic Opportunity (CWEO).

The CWEO provides specialist advice to the NSW Government on opportunities to enhance the representation of women across the workforce, thereby improving women’s economic opportunities.

* ABS Labour Force, Australia survey, February 2012.