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Women, Work and Leadership Research Group

Building equitable workplaces and sustainable careers for women
We offer a focal point for collaboration between leading scholars, business practitioners and policymakers to explore, understand and respond to all factors affecting women, work, employment, family and community.

Our latest research

We have just released our latest research that explores the work and career experiences of Australian women working in automotive trades occupations. The ‘One of the boys’? report by Dr Sarah Oxenbridge, Professor Rae Cooper and Professor Marian Baird is the second part of an ongoing series investigating women working in male-dominated occupations.


‘One of the boys’?

Download the report (pdf, 705KB)

About Women, Work and Leadership

We aim to expand our knowledge and research expertise on women and work in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. Recent public and political debates about family leave, industrial relations, access to childcare, declining birth rates and low levels of female representation on company boards, highlight the need for quality research in this field.

We engage closely with debates about trends impacting the workforce and bridge the gap between academia and policy – we provide research for developing evidence-informed policy in matters pertaining to women, work and family.

We have made significant contributions to both government and company policies about parental leave, women and leadership, flexible and equitable work arrangements and domestic and family violence leave.

We are interested in a diverse range of areas that cover:

  • work and family policies of governments, businesses and unions
  • gender in organisations
  • women in management
  • women and industrial relations
  • organisational effectiveness and gender equity
  • women's participation in the labour market
  • age, gender and the labour market
  • young women, work and family choices
  • corporate cultures and gender
  • gender identity
  • gender: emotional and aesthetic labour.

Projects and resources

Explore the work of the Women, Work and Leadership Group

Investigating the social and economic changes, challenges, risks and opportunities relating to women at work through reports, projects, presentations and publications.

Our people

Meet our academics and researchers.

Our events

We organise and host various events and activities for researchers, students, business and government representatives.

The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP

Women, Work and Leadership Masterclass

"Does this Desk Make my Job Look Big?" - the Design, Implementation and Impact of "All Roles Flex" in a range of Australian Organisations
  • Speaker: Troy Roderick, Rae Cooper, Marc Stears
  • 26 November 2018

The Women, Work and Leadership Research Group and the Sydney Policy Lab launched a Discussion Paper by Troy Roderick on how Australian organisations are mainstreaming flexible ways of working and realising sustainable benefits for their people and their businesses, across a range of industry sectors, role types and commercial contexts. For more information, visit the event page.

Gender Pay Symposium
  • Women, Work and Leadership Research Group and the University of Sydney Policy Lab
  • 28 September 2018

With keynote speaker Fair Work Commission President Iain Ross and other leading voices including Greens Senator Larissa Waters, Jo-anne Schofield from United Voice, and the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, the symposium explored structural, organisational, and individual responses to the challenge of achieving pay equity.

Overload: How good jobs went bad and what we can do about it
  • Speaker: Professor Erin L Kelly
  • 2 July 2018

Presenting findings from a multi-method field experiment conducted in conjunction with the Work, Family, and Health Network.

The #MeToo Movement: Implications for scholars, managers and policymakers
  • Speaker: Professor Christine L Williams
  • 26 June 2018

Exploring the implications of the #MeToo movement for scholars, managers and policymakers and how it presents new opportunities for combating sexual harassment in the workplace.

It’s a boy’s thing really, isn’t it? A gender analysis of the career choices of male and female engineers and an initiative to plug the ‘leaky pipeline’
  • Professor Susan Durbin
  • 22 June 2018

Examining a profession in which gender segregation begins at school and exploring a practical solution for recruiting and retaining women engineers.

Paid parental leave: What can the United States and Australia learn from each other?
  • Speaker: Professor Deborah Widiss
  • 8 May 2018

The workshop examined the difference between the paid parental leave offerings in Australia and the US, how they effect the traditional gendered division of family labor and the level of support the offer single mothers.

Organisational obstacles to men’s participation in childcare: Implications for women in leadership
  • Speaker: Professor Emerita Linda Haas
  • 12 March 2018

Presenting 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)'.

Women and the Future of Work: Report 1 of the Australian Women’s Working Futures Project
  • 6 Mar 2018

Launching the report 'Women and the Future of Work', discussing key findings and outlining implications for policy, practice and scholarship.

What matters in social change? The uncertain significance of caring
  • Speaker: Professor Chris Beasley
  • 26 June 2017

Examining the uncertainties arising from the place of care, of emotional caring bonds, in analysis of social change.

Career persistence and advancement of women in IT: A company-level analysis
  • Speaker: Professor Gill Kirton
  • 16 February 2017

Discussing findings from a case study of the UK operation of a multinational IT company, examining the dynamic interplay of the social and structural factors that mitigate career advancement of professional women.

Upskilling to avoid jobs' polarisation and growing income inequalities: The Swedish experience
  • Professor Dominique Anxo
  • 14 Feb 2017

Analysing the development of the Swedish class structure and the relative decrease in its middle class and stronger polarisation of its class structure during recent decades.


Professor Marian Baird
Professor Marian Baird AO
Academic profile


Professor Rae Cooper
Professor Rae Cooper AO
Academic profile

Contact us

Please contact our Co-directors Marian or Rae via:

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