4.9 Females in the work force:
In 1986, there were 8100 Maltese-born females in the work-force, of whom 6200 were married. Participation rates for Maltese females are particularly low. In 1982, the participation rates for females was only about 40%. For all ethnic groups, but particularly for Maltese married women, there is a low participation rate which is getting worse with time, indicating a withdrawal from the labour force, possibly in the face of high unemployment (VEAC 1984)
Females in full time employment earn about 11% less than males. This difference is not as marked as the average Australian and compares well with other ethnic groups.
This gender-related discrepancy in employment opportunities is emphasised by O'Malley (1978,p 47):
"The proportion of Mediterranean-born [female] workers who occupy blue collar positions being five or six times the equivalent proportion of Australian born employees."
Reasons given for this disadvantage include education level and fluency in the English language. Because of limited education and lack of English, women have limited employment choices. As Collins states:
"Their low paid labour has been of considerable importance for 'small fry' manufacturers, particularly in the clothing industry." ( WFTU, 1975: 125).
Source: Maurice N. Cauchi - Maltese Migrants in Australia, Malta 1990