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Flexibility, employment and gender equality

Flexible working arrangements for both men and women can result in increased gender equality in the workplace and boost corporate profits through productivity gains.

Associate Professor Rae Cooper argues that despite decades of talk, women’s careers are still hampered by glass ceilings, and glass walls that segregate men and women into gender determined roles. When combined with the ‘sticky floor’, where women predominate at the lower end of organisations in jobs that lack in career path and high pay, these factors create the architecture of gender based inequality in the labour force.

While flexibility in Australia typically means reduced hours, Dr Cooper believes there’s a strong case for mainstreaming flexibility for all employees. Dr Cooper’s research indicates that while many employers are wary of the cost, a policy such as ‘all roles flex’ can pay for itself through talent retention and productivity gains.


Podcast

Listen to an interview about the research with Dr Rae Cooper to learn more.

Published work

Heron A, Cooper R and Meagher G 2017 Forthcoming 'Work and Care in Australia' in Women, Work and Care in the Asia-Pacific, ed. Baird, M., Ford, M., & Hill, E., Routledge, Abingdon, United Kingdom

Cooper R, Foley M and Baird M 2016 'Women at work: Australia and the United States', United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney

Cooper R and Baird M 2015 'Bringing the ‘right to request’ flexible working arrangements to life: From policies to practices', Employee Relations, vol.37:5, pp.568-81