Mapping gender-bias in the Australian health and care industry: A case study

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Linda Isherwood
Megan Moskos
Zoei Sutton


gender, care work, healthcare, employment, Australia


Gender-bias in employment has long been a site of concern for social policy. Enduring gender patterns have seen an overrepresentation of men in high status, highly paid and executive roles, while women dominate less (monetarily) valued care work sectors internationally. While existing research has highlighted the negative impacts of this gender bias for women, as well as demonstrating the positive experiences of care work roles for men, it is unclear whether any significant change in male representation is occurring. This article contributes to contemporary understandings of gender-bias in employment by mapping gender patterns in the Australian healthcare and social assistance industry from 2006 to 2020. Drawing on Australian census and workforce statistical data we highlight the significant patterns over time and explore how these might inform developments in social policy to address gender bias in health and care occupations. We conclude by arguing that a broad collaboration of government, professional bodies, educational and industry organisations is needed to mount a sustained challenge to pervasive gender bias in health and care industries.

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