Hope Versus Experience: Career Ambition and the Labour Market Expectations of University Educated Women
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Studies that consider the position of women in the Australian labour market have consistently demonstrated evidence of unequal outcomes between men and women. A number of structural and behavioural explanations have been advanced for the continued existence of this gender inequality. This article contributes to the supply-side debate with a study of the labour market expectations of women. Questions about labour market expectations are pursued through the in-depth analysis of 29 interviews with women drawn from three purposively identified life situations: single undergraduates, single graduates and coupled parents. The findings demonstrate that undergraduate and graduate women in the sample expect to build and pursue successful careers, while also demonstrating an awareness of potential demand-side constraints to their participation in the labour market. The expectations of the undergraduate and graduate women accord with the lived experience of the mothers in the sample.