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Nation recognises lifelong commitment to gender equality and social justice

16 Jun 2016

Marian Baird The Business School’s Professor Marian Baird has described her Order of Australia as a welcome sign that Australia regards gender equality and social justice as important issues and says she is proud of her award for this reason.

But, Professor Baird adds that there is still a great deal of work to be done particularly in the workplace.

“There are many issues at present that need our attention and they relate to the gender, work and family balance,” Professor Baird said. "These include parental leave, child care, equal pay, elder care, domestic violence leave and women’s labour market participation.”

“Behind these important issues sit attitudes and norms that inform the way we relate to each other at work and in society and we need to better understood how they are formed and transmitted.”

Professor Baird was made an Officer in the Order of Australia for her “distinguished service to higher education, and to women, particularly in the areas of workplace gender equality, parental leave policy and industrial relations, and to social justice”.

She is currently the Business School’s Chair of the Discipline of Work and Organisational Studies and the Director of the Women and Work Research Group. Professor Baird is also Fellow of the University of Sydney Senate and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia. She is widely regarded as one of Australia’s leading researchers in the fields of women, work and family.

“My contribution is through research and teaching,” said Professor Baird. “I am a strong believer in doing research for the social good and in informing policy change by undertaking rigorous and relevant research that can answer the social and business questions of the day.”

Professor Baird’s research relates principally to women and work, the way women combine their care and work responsibilities and methods to ensure the contributions of women are valued appropriately.

Professor Baird teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in the Business School.

“I love working in higher education and my teaching is informed by the research I do,” she said. “Not only do I teach my students from my own experience and research, but I also learn from them about the issues that affect their lives.”

“Our students either are, or will be, the leaders of organisations in business and the community and it is my responsibility as an educator to bring to them the knowledge and capacity to improve gender equality at work and in our society,” said Professor Baird.

Despite the formal recognition of her extensive work in these areas, Professor Baird said there are still further avenues for her research to address, saying “there is always work to be done”.

“The world of gender and work is critical to understanding and progressing society. Every country in the world is grappling with changing social dynamics, from fertility rates to flexibility of working hours and fairness in pay, our research has relevance,” she said.

The next stage of Professor Baird’s research will seek to understand the motivators behind men’s and women’s work attitudes, behaviours and labour market decisions, as well as evaluating what it is that drives employer policy relating to gender, work and family.