Normally the term “gender bias” implies males being favored and females being ignored. However, Australian job market has brought a little change in the concept. According to Workplace Gender Equality Agency, or WGEA, there are Australian industries that are biased to female employees and hardly employ male members for posts.

The WGEA report has also indicated that Australia has pledged to put “Australian first” and is focusing on the development of the manufacturing sector again. However, some of the economists and employment aces have warned that in the rush to develop the manufacturing industries, the nation must not ignore industries lacking skills shortages. Such industries included health and aged care as well as social assistance.

WGEA, in its report, found that some of the industries in Australia were gender biased despite making efforts to balance the job market in terms of gender proportion. The agency noticed that the situation has hardly changed in the past two decades. The focus was on health and age care industries where only one-in-ten nurses are male.

WGEA Responds to the Report

The health, aged care, and social assistance industries are considered as female-friendly niches, which restricts male employees to apply for vacant positions. WGEA Director Libby Lyons said that almost 80 percent of employees in health care and social assistance are female. She added that the gender segregation is gradually deepening.

“Nearly 90 per cent of graduates entering that industry are women,” Lyons said referring to her observation as quoted by the ABC. “So that would suggest to me that gender segregation is actually getting worse, that we are not encouraging young women to look to industries other health care and social assistance, and vice versa, we are not encouraging men to look at the more female-dominated industries – that are growth areas.”

Australia Institute’s Center for Future Work Director Jim Stanford said that the manufacturing industry has cut around 200,000 jobs since 2008. As a result of a loss of jobs in the manufacturing industry, the male members have joined health care, aged care, and social assistance industries. Hence, he added that the latest figures revealed that the number of men working in such industries has increased since the financial crisis.

WGEA has always been working with an aim at increasing the number of female workers in Australia. In January, a submission relating to a paid parental leave was presented in a Senate inquiry into the federal government. According to the workplace equality agency, the amendment in the parental leave will affect the performance of the female employees. “It may not be in the interest of improved workplace gender equality to limit access to the Government’s PPL scheme for employees who receive employer-funded PPL,” the submission concluded.

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