Department of Family and Community Services

Women & Work

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Women’s contribution to the workforce is vital for the economic and social independence of women and to the economic prosperity of NSW.

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

The workforce makeup

Although 59 per cent of women* in NSW participate in the labour force, 45 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 19 per cent work part-time.

Among full-time workers, men still earn 16 per cent more each week than women.

Women are also more likely to be casual workers. 30 per cent of women in NSW are employed on a casual basis, without leave entitlements, compared to 26 per cent of men.

Women in NSW also continue to undertake the majority of unpaid caring and household work. NSW mothers working full time - spend an average of 8.5 hours per week more than fathers on unpaid household work. 1

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 mining sector and 13 per cent of jobs in the construction industry 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 women’s participation in underrepresented industries and occupations. 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.
1 Women in NSW Reports: Work, Leadership and Financial Security.