Women ahead on home ownership but still trail on wealth, jobs and wages

Women ahead on home ownership but still trail on wealth, jobs and wages

Gender Indicators
Australian women continue to trail men on wealth, jobs and wages, but are ahead in some age groups when it comes to property ownership, according to the latest Gender Indicators. 

The data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics highlights a number of key pain points for women when it comes to economic security, all of which are heavily impacted by women taking career breaks to care for children, and the fact that there are about 2 million less women working full-time than men.

The ABS report combines already published gender data from this year’s statistics. Below are some of the highlights: 


One of the things that stood out the most from the Gender Indicators was the high level of home ownership among women compared to men.

The data shows that women aged between 15 – 44 years are much more likely than men in this age group to own the properties that they live in – either with or without a mortgage.

This trend reverses briefly after that point in the 45 – 54 age group in favour of men with a mortgage.

It then changes again with women aged 55 – 74 without a mortgage more likely to own the home they live in. This trend reverses to men dominating ownership in the age group over 75.

The data shows that a higher proportion of women who owned their homes were widows (14%). Around 58% of women living in houses that were owned outright were married, while 11% were divorced or separated,

Unfortunately the data does not tell us the extent to which people also own investment property outside of the home that they live in. 

Because of this it is difficult to say that this represents something of a gender gap among younger women in the Australian property market.

Jobs and earnings

The ABS report also reconfirms that there are fewer women in the labour force than men, and those who are working are more likely to be in part-time and casual employment, and more likely to be under-employed than men.

When it comes to average earnings, women take home less from their jobs overall, averaging 89 cents for every $1 that a man earns.


Also read: These are the jobs of the future and the roles that could be ‘redundant’ over the next 4 years


The above combined with the fact that women are still doing most of the primary caring of children, has a profound impact on how much money women have in savings when it comes to their retirement.

In 2016–17, women took 95 per cent of the primary parental leave used by non-public sector employees. Conversely, 95 per cent of secondary parental leave was taken by men.


Women approaching retirement today, aged 55-64 years, are significantly under prepared financially than men of the same age group.

In the 2015–16 period, the median superannuation balance in this age group was $96,000 for women and $166,000 for men.

Just under a quarter (24 per cent) of women aged 15–64 years old had no superannuation coverage at all in 2015–16, compared to one in five men of the same age.


More women than men attain a bachelor degree, with most women likely to qualify in management and commerce related fields, or society and culture. Men are most likely to qualify in management and commerce or engineering and related technologies.

Female graduates earn less than male graduates overall, with median starting salaries of $59,000 and $60,100 respectively, and they earn less in 15 out of 19 key industries.

Bucking the trend, female engineering and related technologies graduates had a higher starting salary than their male counterparts for the first time in 2017: $65,000 compared with $63,500.

The ABS Gender Indicators report comes ahead of next week’s economic progress score for women from Financy, the Financy Women’s Index. 


Stay Smart! Get Savvy!

Get Women's Agenda in your inbox