[Air-l] online thesis

Monika Merkes M.Merkes at latrobe.edu.au
Wed Dec 31 22:12:51 PST 2003

A happy new year to all!

My PhD thesis on the topic "A longer working life for Australian women of
the baby boom generation? - Women's voices and the social policy
implications of an ageing female workforce" is now online at


With an increasing proportion of older people in the Australian population
and increasing health and longevity, paid work after the age of 65 years may
become an option or a necessity in the future. The focus of this research is
on Australian women of the baby boom generation, their working futures, and
the work-retirement decision. This is explored both from the viewpoint of
women and from a social policy perspective. The research draws on
Considine's model of public policy, futures studies, and Beck's concept of
risk society.

The research comprises three studies. Using focus group research, Study 1
explored the views of Australian women of the baby boom generation on work
after the age of 65 years. Study 2 aimed to explore current thinking on the
research topic in Australia and overseas. Computer-mediated communication
involving an Internet website and four scenarios for the year 2020 were used
for this study. Study 3 consists of the analysis of quantitative data from
the Healthy Retirement Project, focusing on attitudes towards retirement,
retirement plans, and the preferred and expected age of retirement.

The importance of choice and a work - life balance emerged throughout the
research. Women in high-status occupations were found to be more likely to
be open to the option of continuing paid work beyond age 65 than women in
low-status jobs. However, the women were equally likely to embrace future

The research findings suggest that policies for an ageing female workforce
should be based on the values of inclusiveness, fairness,
self-determination, and social justice, and address issues of workplace
flexibility, equality in the workplace, recognition for unpaid community and
caring work, opportunities for life-long learning, complexity and inequities
of the superannuation system, and planning for retirement. Further,
providing a guaranteed minimum income for all Australians should be explored
as a viable alternative to the current social security system.


Monika Merkes

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