Employment Rates of Young Maori Women


  • Dale Warburton Ministry of Women's Affairs




While the employment rate of women has risen steadily in New Zealand over the last two decades, employment is still highly variable by ethnicity and age. One o f the groups least engaged in paid employment are young Maori women (15- 2-1 years). Their employment rates are much lower than their Pakeha counterparts (42% and 64% respectively) and this is not offset by their greater involvement in education, in fact, at 33% Maori actually have much lower education participation rates than Pakeha (46%). On the other hand, young Maori women are much more likely to be in one of the unpaid work categories identified by Statistics New Zealand is it this greater incidence of unpaid work by Maori explain their lower participation in employment and education? Although there is a general awareness of these differences, there has been no systematic enquiry into the possible reasons for the relatively low engagement of young Maori women in the formal economy. Using a full set of 178,776 unit records pertaining to all young Maori and Pakeha women from the 2001 Census of Population and Dwellings. I develop a number of novel measures of household composition as indicators of domestic responsibilities. These become arguments in a multivariate statistical model in which young women are modeled as choosing to work in the formal paid and/or participate in education. The results show that young Maori women's choice of paid work is no more sensitive to her domestic responsibilities than those of young Pakeha women, but they do encounter these responsibilities far more often.


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