Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Minister launches new publication on women’s achievements

A new publication outlining the significant achievements of Australian women, including a wealth of information on a range of aspects of women’s lives, has been launched to mark International Women’s Day.

The Minister for Family and Community Services and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women’s Issues, Senator Kay Patterson, today joined with Australian women to mark the day by hosting a lunch at Parliament House, where she launched the publication, Women in Australia 2004.

“I am pleased to launch this definitive publication which outlines the significant achievements of Australian women and looks at a range of aspects covering their lives. The report reveals that women have the same or better outcomes than men in several key areas such as education and health, and continue to make steady progress in other areas,” Senator Patterson said.

Women in Australia 2004 details important facts about Australian women, such as:

  • In June 2003, more than twice as many women as men were aged 85 years and over.
  • At 66% and increasing, women’s labour force participation is the highest it has ever been.
  • A somewhat larger proportion of women than men are engaged in non-school and tertiary studies. In 2003, women comprised 59 per cent of Graduate Diploma/Graduate Certificate students, 56 per cent of Advanced Diploma/Diploma and Bachelor Degree students and 51 per cent of Postgraduate degree students.
  • Indigenous female life expectancy at birth was almost 20 years less than that for the total female population in 2001.
  • In 2002, women accounted for 81 per cent of victims of sexual assault and 62 per cent of kidnap and abduction victims.
  • Almost three quarters of all women engage in low or no exercise.

“This report highlights both the accomplishments of Australian women and the areas where the community needs to work together to improve opportunities and choices for women.

“The Howard Government is committed to providing choice and opportunity to women in all their diversity and supports initiatives which provide development and services to Australian women.

“Major reforms to the tax system and greater assistance for families – including the new Maternity Payment, an increase in Family Tax Benefit and a new Child Care Tax Rebate – are helping women to better balance their work and family responsibilities, take up work, and keep more of their earnings.

“Employment opportunities for women have grown across the board, and women’s participation in both full-time and part-time employment has increased.

“Today is about celebrating those achievements, and inspiring a commitment to sustaining and improving the position of women in Australia,” Senator Patterson said.