The percentage of mothers of young children who are in the workforce has more than doubled in a little over three decades.

Statistics Canada says the employment rate among women with children under the age of three was 64.4 per cent last year. That's more than double the proportion of 27.6 per cent in 1976.

The employment rate for women with children of any age has been steadily rising for three decades.

In 2009, 72.9 per cent of women with children under the age of 16 living at home were employed. That's nearly twice the rate of 39.1 per cent recorded in 1976.

Still, women are still less likely to be employed than men. StatsCan says that 58.3 per cent of Canada's working-age females worked last year, which is still less than the 65.2 per cent of men.

And, while nearly three-quarters of employed women worked full-time last year, they were still more likely than men to work part-time -- that is: fewer than 30 hours a week. Nearly seven in 10 part-time workers were women. That proportion has changed little over the past three decades, StatsCan says.

"The majority of employed women continue to work in occupations in which they have been traditionally concentrated. However, they have increased their representation in several professional fields such as business and finance," the report noted.

A full two-thirds of working women worked in teaching, nursing and related health occupations, clerical or other administrative positions, or sales-and-service occupations. In contrast, 31 per cent of employed men worked in these fields.

At the same time, women comprised 51.2 per cent of business and financial professionals in 2009, up from 38.3 per cent in 1987. Women also made up 55.2 per cent of doctors, dentists and other health occupations in 2009, as well as 72.5 per cent of professionals employed in social sciences or religion.

Self-employment has increased about as fast among women as it has among men in the past two decades, although women are still less likely than men to be self-employed.

In 2009, nearly 1 million women, or 11.9 per cent of all those working, were self-employed, and women accounted for 35.5 per cent of all self-employed workers in 2009.

The report was written using data from the Labour Force Survey. Later this month, the agency will release a report on the economic well-being of women.