Published Papers - Abstract 55

Wicks D & Mishra G. Young Australian women and their aspirations for work, education and relationships. , 1998; : 89-100

It is recognised that while women make up over half of tertiary enrolments, this outcome is not reflected in the gender composition of occupational structure, career patterns and pay distribution. There are a number of different explanations for this including a recent contribution from British sociologist Catherine Hakim who identified the main causal factor as women's own lack of career orientation and work commitment. Hakim's contribution has produced a lively debate with all sides acknowledging the lack of, and need for, longitudinal data on women's workforce participation.The present paper investigates data from the first stage of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health which provides a valuable opportunity to inform this debate through an analysis of the aspirations of a large group of young Australian women aged 18-22 years. The investigation will be conducted in relation to young women's aspirations for work, relation- ships and further education. In this context, the implications for the 'Hakim debate' will he discussed.Analysis of the initial data casts light on debates about women's work- force participation at the same time as establishing baseline data for future research on the work and family patterns of this group of young women. The information will have significance for policy debates in several areas, including those concerned with child care, access to higher education and work-force planning.