Publication Details

Rawstron, K. (2012). 'Diverging Paths: Occupational Sex Segregation, Australia, and the OECD', The Australian Sociological Association Annual Conference 2012: Emerging and Enduring Equalities (pp. 1-12). Australia: TASA.


In the mid-1980s, “Australia held the title for the most sex segregated labour force in the OECD area” (OECD, 1984 in Pocock 1998: 590). Does this still hold true? In this paper, series analysis is employed to explore what has happened to occupational sex segregation in Australia since 1984. I do this by measuring changes in the Index of Association. The level, and change in trend, of occupational sex segregation in Australia is also compared to that of selected other groups of OECD nations between 2000 and 2010, including the Pacific Rim OECD nations and those nations which are included in both the OECD and G20 groups of nations.

Overall, no single pattern of changing levels of sex segregation is visible for all OECD countries. While some countries have shown a decrease in the levels of sex segregation (whether significant or not), others have shown an increase. What has emerged is a tendency for those countries with already low levels of sex segregation to have displayed decreasing sex segregation since 2000, while those with high levels of sex segregation have generally shown an increasing trend. What is clear from this analysis is that Australia is no longer the most sex-segregated country in the OECD, or even among Pacific Rim nations; that dubious honour now belongs to the United States of America.