Thoughts on ways to improve the management of professional services firms

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Changing Gender Balances in the Professions - a question for you

In Australia girls are doing better than boys in the final year school exams and have been doing so for some time This is reflected in the numbers attending university.

In 2004, 54.3 per cent of all Australian university students were female. The female proportion among new students entering university in 2004 was also 54.3 per cent.

I have tried to find aggregate data on the female/male balance in different fields of study but without success at this point. However, based on previous research I did covering certain institutions and fields, my qualitative impressions are:
  • In some fields including optometry, dentistry and vet science, the female proportion is now over 80 per cent.
  • In other professional fields including medicine, law and accounting, the female proportion is well over 50 per cent and climbing.
  • In still other fields such as primary teaching (female) and engineering (male), the traditional gender bias is still there.

Because changing gender balances have implications for individual professions and professional practices (women have to balance child birth and careers), I wondered what the position was in other countries, what practical impact this was having in management terms?

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