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Rethinking the Work and Care Debate

03 Sep 2012

The University of Sydney Women and Work Research Group hosted a panel discussion entitled "Ideas that Change the World for Women" on Friday 31 August.

The discussion was chaired by Sydney Morning Herald economics journalist Jessica Irvine, and provided attendees with insight into the role of gender in education, the workplace and the wider community.

The panelists included Professor Diane Elson from the University of Essex, who was in Sydney to deliver the 2012 Wheelwright memorial lecture. Professor Elson is a renowned feminist economist who has acted as advisor to organisations such as UNIFEM and Oxfam.

Also on the panel were Dr Elizabeth Hill, lecturer in political economy at the University of Sydney, Professor Gabrielle Meagher, professor of social policy at the University of Sydney and Professor Marian Baird, professor of employment relations at the University of Sydney Business School, and Director of the Women and Work Research Group.

Following presentations from each of the panelists, a lively Q&A was held, touching on topics such as the role of school education in perpetuating gender differences, the need to change the gendered culture of workplaces and the need to get men involved in the gender debate.

"The event attracted huge interest from academics and practitioners, showing that we obviously need to re-think the work and care debate in Australia," Professor Baird said. "Ideas about evaluating budgets and public service provision from a gender perspective, reframing workplaces and the provision of care, and providing public policies that smooth the path between unpaid work and paid work, will benefit the whole of society."