Why don’t female graduates work full-time?

On my Facebook page, there has been a bit of debate about my article in this morning’s Age. My basic point was that women with bachelor degrees are less likely to work full-time than men, and that this inevitably has consequences for what proportion of senior jobs go to women. These jobs are typically more than full-time, and usually go to people with a lot of experience.

Obviously childcare is a big part of the story. As the figure below shows (all data from the 2011 census), the more kids women have the less likely they are to work full-time during the years when children need care.

But the figure also shows that childless women are less likely than men to work full-time. And it shows that while full-time labour force participation increases as children grow up, women in their fifties lose interest in work regardless of how many kids they have had in the past.

Rates of full-time work, bachelor degree holders 2011

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