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Flexibility, employment and gender equality

28 February 2017
Flexible work arrangements boost equality and profit
Professor Rae Cooper's research indicates that employee flexibility for men and women can break down barriers to gender equality in the workplace and pay for itself through talent retention and productivity gains.

Research highlights: 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 as well as 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 a 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. Her 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.

Flexibility means women are not forced to make a choice between having a good family life and having a good career.
Associate Professor Rae Cooper