Women’s participation in paid work has increased considerably over the past 50 years. Women made up almost half the paid workforce in Australia in 2020, compared to around 30% in 1966.
In addition to participating in paid work at much greater levels than in the past, women are also working longer. This has changed across the generations - particularly at the ages when women usually have children. These changes have occurred in conjunction with changes in employment opportunities, greater access to paid parental leave, access to more flexible working arrangements and changes in the structure of the economy. In comparison, male employment across time, and across the generations, has seen much smaller changes.
This article compares female employment, by age, at various points since 1966, then provides a 'cohort' analysis which compares female employment and full-time employment, by age, across the generations.