Family and Changing Gender Roles

AuSSA aims to survey a representative sample of adult Australians. The fairest way of doing that is to draw a random sample from the Australian Electoral Roll. This means every Australian citizen has an equal chance of having their views included in the survey, and means that researchers are able to use statistical techniques to make inferences about Australian society overall on the basis of characteristics of the sample.

In 2012, 5000 citizens were randomly selected from the electoral roll. 1620 of them returned a completed questionnaire.

Questions included:

  • ​Can a working mother establish just as warm and secure a relationship with her children as a mother who does not work?
  • Is being a housewife just as fulfilling as working for pay?
  • ​Should both men and women contribute to the household income?
  • ​Are married people generally happier than unmarried people?
  • ​Is it all right for a couple to live together without intending to get married?
  • ​Can single parents, same sex couples bring up a child as well as a male-female couple?
  • ​Does having children increase people’s social standing in society?
  • ​Should paid leave be available for parents? Who should pay for it? Which parents should take the paid leave?
  • ​What is the best way to organise family and work life? Should both parents work full time?
  • ​Who do you think should provide childcare? Who should cover the cost of childcare?
  • ​Who should assist elderly people? Who should cover the cost?
  • ​Which family member looks after the finances? Who does the housework? Do you do your fair share?
  • ​Who makes decisions about financial matters? About matters of how to bring up children?​

Selected findings

For the question “A working mother can establish just as warm and secure a relationship with her children as a mother who does not work”, 60% of male respondents agreed or strongly agreed, but 75% of female respondents agreed or strongly agreed.

When asked “Who do you think should PRIMARILY cover the costs of childcare for children under school age?” – 69% of respondents chose “The family”, 29% chose “The government” and small remainder chose “the employer”.

Access to further information and results from AuSSA 2012

A summary (codebook) of the results from the AuSSA 2012 is available to view in your web browser

AuSSA data is lodged in the public domain by its deposit in the Australian Data Archive (ADA) – AuSSA 2012 archive. The ADA provides online analysis tools for those with basic data analysis skills who wish to use AuSSA in their own research. In addition, the data file can be downloaded free of charge for your own further analysis.

For more information:

Tel. 1800 122 251 (free call)


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