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Family Matters No. 81 - March 2009

Young Australian women's aspirations for work and family

Melissa Johnstone and Christina Lee

Abstract

Drawing upon data collected from the first three waves of the younger cohort of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health (ALSWH), this article investigates the work and family aspirations held by young Australian women, the consistency of these aspirations over time, and socio-demographic markers of differences between women with varying aspirations. The majority of young Australian women aspired to a stable relationship, at least one child, and some form of paid work, demonstrating that balancing paid work and family will continue to be important to young Australian women. Aspirations for marriage, two children and full-time paid employment were the most common responses, although some inconsistency in employment and motherhood aspirations was observed across waves. Socio-demographic variables, including area of residence, educational qualification and occupational category, were significant predictors of subsequent aspirations.

Drawing upon data collected from the first three waves of the younger cohort of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health (ALSWH), this article investigates the work and family aspirations held by young Australian women, the consistency of these aspirations over time, and socio-demographic markers of differences between women with varying aspirations. The majority of young Australian women aspired to a stable relationship, at least one child, and some form of paid work, demonstrating that balancing paid work and family will continue to be important to young Australian women. Aspirations for marriage, two children and full-time paid employment were the most common responses, although some inconsistency in employment and motherhood aspirations was observed across waves. Socio-demographic variables, including area of residence, educational qualification and occupational category, were significant predictors of subsequent aspirations.

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Suggested citation:

Johnstone, M., & LeeYoung, C. (2009). Australian women's aspirations for work and familyFamily Matters, 81, 5-14.