Research Grants

Australian Women’s Work Futures (2017-2018)

Investigator/s: Marian BairdRae 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 GroutsisRae CooperGregory 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.

Barriers to Women’s participation and advancement in the music industry in Australia (2016-2017)

Investigator/s: Rae Cooper

Scoping study of the position of women in the technical and business segments of the music industry in Australia. Includes a literature review and a scope of leading practice in select economies to understand drivers for equality.


It's your funeral: An investigation of pricing and costing in the Australian death-care industry (2016)

Investigator/s: Sandra van der Laan

This research provides information to enable a comprehensive understanding of the funeral industry in Australia and the drivers of costs and prices for funerals in the current regulatory environment. Given recent criticisms of increasing concentration in the industry and predatory pricing and marketing in an environment where consumers are vulnerable, this research project highlights the historical, regulatory, cultural and social context of death-care to allow an exploration of the opportunities and challenges for consumers of death-care services and the funeral industry in Australia.


Women at work: Australia and the United States (2016)

Investigator/s: Rae CooperMarian Baird

A key indicators analysis of the position of women in the US and Australia in relation to education, work, leadership and a scope of leading practice toward gender equality in the US and Australia.


The identification of barriers to the recruitment, retention and advancement of women at Sydney Water (2016)

Investigator/s: Marian BairdRae Cooper

This project will allow the Women and Work Research Group at the Business School to undertake research that provides reasons for the low numbers of women in Sydney Water Civil and Treatment Business Units and provide recommendations for increasing the number of women employed in Sydney Water’s Civil and Treatment Business Units.

Women’s Leadership in Australian Unions (2015)

Investigator/s: Rae Cooper

Qualitative research with key Australian national union leaders to understand union practice and strategies in relation to gender equality. Outcomes reported and recommendations made to the ACTU Executive and ACTU Congress.

Enhancing mothers' engagement with the workforce in the preschool years (2013-2016)

Investigator/s: Marian Baird

Increasing the workforce participation of mothers is a key national policy agenda. This project will produce unique data that provides insights into how leave arrangements, childcare, flexibility, job characteristics and individual circumstances interact to influence mothers' workforce engagement and how this varies for different groups of mothers.

Women and Work Research Network (2013-2014)

Investigator/s: Marian BairdRae CooperLeanne Cutcher

One of the most significant economic and social changes to affect nations, businesses and family life in both advanced and developing nations in the past 20 years has been the dramatic rise in the number of women participating in the paid workforce. On the supply side, this phenomenon is fuelled by a number of factors including changes in women's education levels and social expectations, and the need to supplement family incomes. On the demand side, these changes are stoked by the expectations of economic growth in the emerging economies of Asia and the new challenges of rising dependency ratios and productivity constraints in advanced economies such as Australia, Singapore, and Japan. This shift in women's workforce participation has profound implications for all aspects of work, family and community life. It requires policy responses and innovation in a range of contexts, from business to government, unions, faith and community based organisations, families, and by individuals themselves. Recent public and political debates in Australia and the Asian region about human rights; labour standards, including maternity, family and carers' leave; attitudes to women; child care; access to finance; poverty; labour mobility; and low levels of female representation in leadership all highlight the need for quality research in the field of women, work and policy.

Flexibility for working parents in the 'hybrid' fair work system (2012-2014)

Investigator/s: Rae CooperMarian Baird

The Fair Work Act (2009) establishes a novel 'hybrid' system of workplace regulation encompassing individual rights and processes and a new collective bargaining regime. This project investigates how the new framework can be utilised to establish flexible working arrangements for the benefit of families, employers and society.