Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to examine the rate of change of men and women's employment as university academic staff in Australia and Japan; and, drawing on quantitative methods, show differences in the rate of change since the introduction of anti-sex discrimination legislation. The author also includes a discussion of programmes designed to increase female participation in academic positions to provide background to the existing changes.
Design/methodology/approach - Using statistics published by the Ministries of Education of both countries, a time series of female participation at each level of academic staff was constructed. Breakpoint analysis is used to model the changes in the rate of change before and after the legislation was introduced.
Findings - Both Australia and Japan have seen an increase in female participation rates in academic employment at all levels since the introduction of anti-sex discrimination legislation. In addition, the rate of increase of female participation has increased at almost every level of academic staff in both countries between 1970 and 2010.
Originality value - Through setting out the changes in female participation at individual levels of academic staff in Japan and Australia, this study sets the stage for future qualitative work exploring why differences in the numbers of female and male staff continue. A further use is the provision of a clear data set for use in teaching and policy construction through showing the increases in female participation in academia between 1970 and 2010.