Women, Work & Leadership Research Group Research highlights: Flexibility, employment and gender equality

The Women, Work & Leadership Research Group (WW&LRG) at the University of Sydney Business School provides a focal point for collaboration between leading scholars, business practitioners and policy makers with an interest in women and work, in building more equitable workplaces and more sustainable careers for women. The WW&LRG engages closely with debates about the megatrends impacting the workforce, including the feminisation of the workforce, population ageing, flexibility and technological change and emerging issues which lead to changing expectations of employers, employees and of the organisation of work.

The Co-Directors of the WW&LRG Professor Marian Baird and Associate Professor Rae Cooper have considerable expertise in undertaking engaged research, and in public speaking and media presentations.

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Featured Research 2017-2018

Women and the Future of Work:
Report 1 of the Australian Women's Working Futures Project

Marian Baird, Rae Cooper, Elizabeth Hill, Elspeth Probyn and Ariadne Vromen
Commissioned Research by: Ipsos (Jessica Elgood and Kathrina Phan)
Read the report PDF

The Australian Women’s Work Futures Survey (AWWF)

The WWLRG co-directors Associate Professor Rae Cooper and Professor Marian Baird are members of a multidisciplinary team from the University of Sydney conducting a study of Australian women’s work futures. Working with Dr Elizabeth Hill (Political Economy), Professor Elspeth Probyn (Gender Studies) and Professor Ariadne Vromen (Government and International Relations) the study is the first of its kind to investigate the challenges faced by Australian women as they negotiate their working lives and plan for future employment.

The AWWF study, funded by a University of Sydney Research Innovation Grant 2017, surveys 2000 women aged 16-40, supplemented by focus groups with specific categories of women across key theme. A sample of 500 men is also included in the study. The aim of the study is to understand women’s experiences and expectations in employment. It covers topics such as current and recent employment experience, training and future careers, experiences of gender equality at work and preparedness for the future of work. The study is funded by The University of Sydney Strategic Initiatives Grant Scheme 2017.

Early findings were released on 6 December 2017 and a full report of findings was released 6 March 2018 to coincide with International Women’s Day 2018.

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Upcoming Events

'Paid Parental Leave: What can the United States and Australia learn from each other?'

Tuesday 8 May 2018, 11:00am - 12:30pm, Room 5040, Level 5, The Abercrombie Building, The University of Sydney Business School

This seminar, presented by and drawing on research conducted by Dr Deborah Widiss, Professor of Law at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, compares and contrasts PPL schemes in the United States and Australia.
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Past Events

'Women and the Future of Work-Report 1' of the Australian Women's Working Futures Project

Tuesday 6 March 2018, 4:00pm - 6:00pm, The Refectory, Room 5020 Level 5, The Abercrombie Building, The University of Sydney Business School

In the week of International Women’s Day 2018 the Women, Work & Leadership Research Group at the University of Sydney Business School launched the report of important new research on 'Women and the Future of Work'. The research builds critical insights about women’s current working lives, as well as their aspirations and fears for the future of their work.

'Organizational obstacles to men’s participation in childcare - Implications for women in leadership'

Monday 12 March 2018, 12.00pm - 2.00pm, Room 5050 Level 5, The Abercrombie Building, The University of Sydney Business School

Linda Haas presented her research from her Thesis- 'The same gendered cultural and structural obstacles that keep men from taking leave in Sweden work to prevent women from obtaining leadership positions in Sweden (and elsewhere)'.

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Recent research grants

Australian Women’s Work Futures (2017-2018)

Investigator/s: Marian Baird; Rae Cooper

This project will develop a unique University of Sydney-branded online survey and National Report on Australian women’s work futures. The development of new empirical data and academic analysis of women’s career aspirations and the future of women’s work in Australia will establish the University of Sydney as the premier location for research on gender equality in work.

Investigating Cultural Diversity and the non-executive directors of the ASX100 (2017)

Investigator/s: Dimitria Groutsis; Rae Cooper; Gregory Whitwell

This research builds on an emerging body of work investigating cultural diversity in senior leadership roles in large private sector organisations. In particular it seeks to analyse how culturally diverse the non-executive director cohort of the ASX100 is, as well as to understand the enablers and inhibitors to broader cultural diversity. This scope of research has been prompted by an invitation from the AHRC and the AICD to design a methodology for a pilot project to understand these processes and outcomes.

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Highlighted publication

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

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Recent policy submission

Analysis Of The Impact Of The Government’s Proposed Changes To Paid Parental Leave On Key Workers In South Australia  Fair Agenda

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In the Media

  • Marian Baird on ABC News TV 08 Apr 2018

    ABC News 24

    ABC News TV interviewed Professor Marian Baird on the proportion of dads staying home to look after children.

  • Policy settings in Australia don't encourage men to be stay at home dads, according to report 05 Apr 2018

    ABC NewsRadio

    Professor Marian Baird was interviewed on ABC NewsRadio on gender stereotypes that prevent men from being stay at home dads.

  • Find a happy balance 31 Mar 2018

    The Daily Telegraph

    Professor Marian Baird was quoted in on why workplace flexibility is the solution to the challenge of school holidays when both parents work. The article was syndicated across News Corp Australia.

  • Acknowledging #MeToo This International Women’s Day 08 Mar 2018

    New Matilda and Women’s Agenda

    New Matilda and Women’s Agenda mentioned research from the Business School into attitudes to work by Australian women aged 16 to 40.

  • Major career study shows young Australian women are missing in debate about future of work 07 Mar 2018

    The Sydney Morning Herald, Daily Life, Age and other regional Fairfax papers, Smart Company and Human Resources Director

    The Sydney Morning Herald, Daily Life, Age and other regional Fairfax papers, Smart Company and Human Resources Director reported on a survey from the Women, Work & Leadership Group, which found significant gaps between working women’s aspirations and current working realities. The report was co-authored by the Business School's Rae Cooper and Marian Baird and other cross-disciplinary staff.

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