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Research into workplace barriers for women to make a big impact
Founded in 2006, the Women, Work and Policy Research Group aims to expand our knowledge and research expertise on women, work and policy in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. Recent public and political debates about changing demographics and workplaces, parental and family leave, childcare, elder care, domestic and family violence leave, menstrual and menopause leave, the gender pay gap, working from home and declining birth rates highlight the need for quality research in this field.
The Women, Work and Policy Research Group engages closely with debates about trends impacting the workforce and we bridge the gap between academia and policy. We provide the research necessary for developing evidence-informed policy in matters pertaining to women, work and family and engage with all levels of government, business, unions and not-for-profit organisations.
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.
Our academics and researchers regularly present at conferences and symposiums.
Presented by Dr Daniel Dinale, Work and Organisation Studies, Thursday 16 June 2022.
The Women and Work Research Group's annual Jessie Street International Women's Day Lecture on March 7, 2022 was presented by Kate Jenkins, Australia's Sex Discrimination Commissioner.
Professor Rae Cooper, AO delivered the Equality and Inclusion Plenary Session Keynote Address at the ILERA World Congress (Virtually) in Lund Sweden on June 24, 2021.
A new report by Professor Marian Baird and Daniel Dinale for the Fair Work Commission analyses flexible work options and working from home preferences before, during and after COVID-19.
A first-of-its-kind study examining the economic security of single older women without children has busted the myth that people without children must have uninterrupted careers and healthy retirement savings.
Led by Associate Professor Myra Hamilton from the University of Sydney Business School, the research found two thirds of research participants had experienced an involuntary career interruption despite not having children.
The report, Security in old age for older single women without children, is a collaborative project between the ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research, the University of Sydney, University of NSW and Curtin University, funded by Certified Practicing Accountants (CPA) Australia.
A rapid analysis on Covid-19 and implications for women’s economic participation for ‘Investing in Women’, an initiative of the Australian Government.
This report provides:
Foley, M; Cooper, R; and Mosseri S (2019). Gender equitable recruitment and promotion: Leading practice guide, WGEA Commissioned Research Paper, The Australian Women’s Working Futures (AWWF) Project, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.
Gender bias is pervasive at work and in organisations, creating inequalities at every stage of the employment cycle. Gender-based stereotypes affect which candidates get recruited for certain roles and which do not, which candidates get selected for those roles and why, how salaries are negotiated, how managers provide feedback to their employees, and which employees receive career development opportunities and career encouragement and which do not. Each of these factors compounds across women’s careers, producing and sustaining gender inequality from recruitment to selection to promotion.
Decades of research has made one thing clear: gender biases are nearly always present in employment decisions, subtly influencing our assessments about who is the ‘right’ or ‘best’ person for the job. This insight paper highlights some of the research examining how gender bias operates at work and provides evidence-based suggestions for creating more equitable recruitment and promotion systems.
An online survey of 2000 women aged 16-40, supplemented by focus groups with specific categories of women. A sample of 500 men is also included.
The aim is to understand women’s experiences and expectations in employment. It covers topics such as current and recent employment experience, training and future career and family planning.
Funded by the University of Sydney Strategic Initiatives Grant Scheme 2017.
Examining the work and career experience of Australian women employed in traditionally male-dominated occupations, professions or industry sectors. Running from 2017 to 2020, this project will focus on women working in investment management, automotive trades and aviation (pilots). The questions guiding the project are:
The team includes Professor Rae Cooper, Dr Sarah Oxenbridge and Professor Marian Baird AO and involves an online survey and interviews with women working in each of the three occupations, as well as qualitative interviews with key informants from each of the three sectors.
Data gathered via fieldwork in the investment management and automotive trades sectors and fieldwork with female pilots commenced in late 2018.
Download the first report: Women in investment management (pdf, 702KB).
Download the second report: Women in automotive trades occupations (pdf, 705KB).
A study exploring the ways to understand and ultimately to disrupt the gendered norms on access to flexible work, enabling organisations and individuals to adopt new practices that expand flexible work to a broader range of employees and extend its well-known impacts on organisational performance and gender equality.
Existing academic and industry research was reviewed, and face to face or phone interviews conducted with representatives of eight organisations in a range of industries. Data provided by these organisations was reviewed. Organisations were selected based on their size and scale, variety of role types, industry sector and evidence of the impact of “All Roles Flex”.
Investigators: 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. We are analysing how culturally diverse the non-executive director cohort of the ASX100 is, as well exploring the enablers and inhibitors to broader cultural diversity. This research was prompted by an invitation from the Australian Human Rights Commission and the Australian Institute of Company Directors to design a methodology for a pilot project to understand these processes and outcomes.
Investigator: 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.
We regularly undertake funded research in partnership with government, businesses and not-for-profit organisations. Recent projects have focused on women’s work in non-traditional occupations, women and leadership, women’s employment, maternity leave and flexible working arrangements.
We welcome approaches for engaged research and potential research partnerships. Please contact us.
Meet our academics and researchers.
We organise and host various events and activities for researchers, students, business and government representatives.
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.
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.
Presenting findings from a multi-method field experiment conducted in conjunction with the Work, Family, and Health Network.
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.
Examining a profession in which gender segregation begins at school and exploring a practical solution for recruiting and retaining women engineers.
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.
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)'.
Launching the report 'Women and the Future of Work', discussing key findings and outlining implications for policy, practice and scholarship.
Explore our contributions to policy affecting women.
With the National Foundation of Australian Women.
With Fair Agenda
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28 August was Equal Pay Day, marking the 59 extra days from the end of the financial year that women have to work to earn the same annual average wage as men. So what is the gender pay gap and how might we close it? Sydney experts explain.