2010 Projects » Women & Employment Survey 2009

The Women & Employment Survey was developed to look at some of the specific issues women face in seeking and/or engaging in paid work in order to better understand what information or support is needed to assist women.

This Charlesworth Women and Employment Survey Report on the main findings from the Women & Employment Survey provides useful data about the real life experiences of a large and diverse group of Australian women, including a group of Indigenous women, as well as their views as to what services and supports might better assist them in seeking work, in negotiating working conditions and remaining in work.


  • There are ongoing barriers to women’s workforce participation. Within the workplace the organisation of work around full-time hours and/or rigid working time arrangements; outside the workplace the lack of supportive infrastructure, such as childcare services and inclusive labour market programs. These barriers make it difficult for many women to enter paid employment despite active job searching.
  • Practical access to flexible work practices and working time arrangements remains limited for many women in paid employment, particularly those women who work on a part-time or casual basis and/or in the private sector. At the same time, heavy workloads and managerial discretion in public sector employment may make it difficult for those who may be entitled to various flexible working arrangements to access them.
  • There is a lack of awareness among many women about their workplace entitlements, such as carers leave. Moreover, a significant minority of women do not know where to access information on their workplace entitlements, on appropriate wage levels or on bullying and harassment in the workplace.

The Women & Employment Survey respondents had a higher than average level of education than most Australian women and were more likely to be working in professional and managerial occupations and in permanent full-time employment. This suggests that less advantaged women may well face more difficulties in seeking work and in negotiating their working conditions. As well as more responsive workplaces, childcare and out-of-school-hours care services, more targeted and personalised support and information are needed to better meet the needs of women seeking employment and to raise women’s awareness of their workplace rights.