Discussion paper

Australian mothers' participation in employment

Employment Work-life balance Families Australia

In 2009/10, almost two-thirds of Australian mothers of children aged under 15 years were employed. This employment rate remains below that of many other OECD countries, indicating that there may be potential for increases in maternal employment in Australia.

This paper explores the characteristics of employed and non-employed mothers, to identify the factors that contribute to differing employment levels.

Using data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, it examines birth and work history, labour force characteristics, socio-demographic characteristics (e.g., education, number and age of children, and health status), and self-perceptions and values among lone and couple mothers.

In particular, it examines whether non-employment is due to a preference to be at home or due to barriers to employment imposed by personal or family characteristics.

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