According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics Labour Force data released Thursday, the number of women in full-time work slipped to 3.138 million in June, compared to 3.141 in January of this year.
But what’s helped to offset this fall has been an increase in the number of women working part-time. That rose to 2.772 million in June, up from 2.709 million in January.
Having children is by far one of the biggest reasons why we tend to see more women working part-time and leaving full-time work.
What the data shows is that we need to see more support by way of affordable childcare to help women continue to work full-time, if they would like or need to do so.
It will be interesting to see if the federal government’s new childcare regime will give a boost to the number of women in full-time work, or if as the trend suggests, we will continue to see fluctuations in growth.
From this July, a new means test and activity test for childcare support applies and that cuts off once the family income hits $350,000.
The government’s childcare reforms are expected to benefit most families but up to 279,000 families will be worse off, according to figures from the education department.
According to the June Financy Women’s Index, the number of women in full-time work has been gradually increasing since 2014.
By contrast, there are slightly more men working full-time and in part-time roles.
Overall the trend participation rate, which includes both men and women, remained steady at 65.6 per cent in June 2018, and was 0.4 percentage points higher than in June 2017.
Both male and female participation rates remained steady at 70.8 per cent and 60.5 per cent respectively.
The trend participation rate for 15-64 year olds, increased slightly to 78.1 per cent. The gap between male and female participation rates in this age range is less than 10 percentage points, at 82.8 and 73.3 per cent respectively, continuing the long term convergence of male and female participation.
This is an edited version of a piece that first appeared on Financy.