Where are the females in our higher education system and how can we mitigate the parenting penalty?

Presentation


McGovern, Mary. 2022. "Where are the females in our higher education system and how can we mitigate the parenting penalty?" International Conference on Women (Women 2022). Parahyangan, Indonesia 20 - 21 Aug 2022 Parahyangan, Indonesia.
Paper/Presentation Title

Where are the females in our higher education system and how can we mitigate the parenting penalty?

Presentation TypePresentation
Authors
AuthorMcGovern, Mary
Journal or Proceedings TitleInternational Conference on Women (Women 2022): Book of Abstracts
Number of Pages2
Year2022
Place of PublicationParahyangan, Indonesia
ISBN9786246070113
Web Address (URL) of Paperhttps://womenconference.co/history-2022/
Conference/EventInternational Conference on Women (Women 2022)
Event Details
International Conference on Women (Women 2022)
Event Date
20 to end of 21 Aug 2022
Event Location
Parahyangan, Indonesia
Abstract

Females are half of the world’s population and therefore should be present in all levels of education and employment proportionally. Globally, data informs of the increases in females accessing and completing tertiary level study (OECD, 2018; UNESCO, 2022). However, there are still low levels of females in employment compared to males in various sectors, such as science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Conversely, females are overrepresented in some disciplines such as health. It also presents with inequity in pay and is reflected in lower numbers of females in senior leadership roles. Completion of university qualifications is one policy lever to adjust these disparities. This paper will present secondary analysis of data from around the world and include a localised display of female parents’ experience when enrolling in a pathway program to gain entry into a regional university. The findings will present findings about education and employment of females and explore the issues for mothers returning to education. A review of literature will highlight the factors and influences for females returning to education post an educational break while parenting. This paper will discuss considerations of how to mitigate the parenting penalty. All genders have a role to play in contributing to society, and all should have equitable access to education and employment. However, gender and ‘parenting penalty’ is impacting equitable access and take up of opportunities. OECD (2021) confirms more females are completing tertiary education, but it does follow through to the labour market where ILO (2022) states current labour force participation for women is just under 47% while men are at 72%. Females although present in education are less evident when it comes to employment. To gather a global and local picture on issues for females in education and employment and determine the impact of female parenting on these issues, with a focus on commencing higher education. A literature review was conducted to explore the current research into females in tertiary education, and includes an exploration of career development for females, mature age and mothers returning to education. The literature review informed a secondary analysis of public data collected globally and locally to investigate females in education and employment. Data was collated and analysed to prepare a view of the past, present, and expected future situation of females in education and overview the landscape that females must navigate. Findings present considerations for educational institutions and policy makers. Although females increasingly are enrolling in higher education, a gender gap starts between completing secondary education and entry and completing tertiary education. For example, although positively skewed, albeit to women, in 2019, 51% of 25–34-year-old held a tertiary degree compared to 39% of males on average across OECD countries. Other findings include the limited literature and data existing for mature age female parents returning to education. Data findings confirm the complex issues of females, and parents in education and employment. The gap starts to form between the convergence of access and completion of tertiary education and surviving employment through maternity leave. Identifying the change of females in education and employment in recent years encourages the need for further analysis Page | 14 International Conference on Women 2022 of this data and consideration of female parents’ career development. This also highlights the need for empirical data on female’s experiences of pathway programs into tertiary education.

KeywordsFemales, gender, higher education
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020399999. Other education not elsewhere classified
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Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Southern Queensland
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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