A Long-Run View of the University Gender Gap in Australia

33 Pages Posted: 10 May 2010

See all articles by Alison L. Booth

Alison L. Booth

Australian National University (ANU) - Research School of Social Sciences (RSSS); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Hiau Joo Kee

Australian National University - Research School of Social Sciences

Abstract

The first Australian universities were established in the 1850s, well before the introduction of compulsory schooling. However it was not until the twentieth century that growing industrialisation, technological change and the development of the so-called 'knowledge industries' fed into an increased demand in Australia for better-educated workers. As the twentieth century progressed, technological change and industrial restructuring saw a shift from brawn to brain. From the middle of the twentieth century, the introduction of mass secondary school education and the expansion of the number of universities widened access. At the same time, subjects offered in higher education increased in scope, and explicit and implicit labour market discrimination began to be eroded. These factors, together with a series of supply-side changes, meant that women were more easily able to shift into investing in the skills in which labour demand was increasing. By 1987, Australian women were more likely than men to be enrolled at university. These aggregate figures disguise considerable heterogeneity across fields of study.

Keywords: higher education, gender, Australia

JEL Classification: I23, J1, N3

Suggested Citation

Booth, Alison L. and Kee, Hiau Joo, A Long-Run View of the University Gender Gap in Australia. IZA Discussion Paper No. 4916, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1603365

Alison L. Booth (Contact Author)

Australian National University (ANU) - Research School of Social Sciences (RSSS) ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia
+61 2 6125 3285 (Phone)
+61 2 6125 0182 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Hiau Joo Kee

Australian National University - Research School of Social Sciences ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
Australia

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