A Profile of Australian Women in Business

Office for WomenEconomic SecurityPay EquityWorkforce Participation
Saturday, 05 September 2015
Publication author(s):
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
Publication abstract:

Australian women are increasingly becoming business operators, perhaps to improve their family's social and economic wellbeing, remain attached to the labour force and better manage their work-life balance. Just over a third of Australia’s business operators are women (34%), and their numbers are rising.

This report provides a profile of Australian women business operators, to enable a better understanding of the changing role of this pathway of employment for women. A wide range of data has been gathered together for the first time to present a national picture of their personal, family, business and employment characteristics.

The report shows the ways in which women who run their own businesses differ from male business operators, and from female and male employees. It examines the reasons women establish their own businesses, and notes some of the barriers to women’s employment in general and starting a business in particular.

Recognising interest in particular groups of women business operators, the report also provides key characteristics of the following groups: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, migrant women, women in remote Australia, women with a disability, older women and women with dependent children.

In the broader context of women’s workforce participation, this wide-ranging and detailed collection of data adds depth and breadth to the existing literature on women’s self-employment in Australia. Together with an extensive literature review, and a discussion of data gaps and options for addressing those gaps, this report provides a comprehensive resource for policy makers and academics.

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