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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.

Current research

Explore the work we have underway.

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.

Download the full report (pdf, 3.4MB).

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:

  • What is the lived experience of women working in male-dominated occupations and sectors?
  • How do women’s experiences coalesce, or vary, across occupations and sectors?
  • What can be done to improve the gender representation and working experiences of women working in male-dominated occupations and sectors?

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”.

Download the full report (pdf, 4.4MB)

Partner with us

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.

Recently completed research

Explore our funded work.

Investigators: 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. 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.

Download the report: Skipping a beat (pdf, 700KB).

Our presentations

Our academics and researchers regularly present at conferences and symposiums.

Women, Work and Retirement: Choice and Constraint
  • Policy Dialogue on Retirement Incomes
  • Marian Baird
  • 1 November 2018
Carers Needs and Policy Contexts
  • Carers NSW 2018 Biennial Conference
  • Marian Baird
  • 12 October 2018
Women in investment management: experiences and strategies for change
  • Chartered Financial Analyst Societies Diversity Committee meeting, Sydney
  • Sarah Oxenbridge
  • 25 September 2018
Australian Women in Investment Management
  • Women in Banking and Finance, Boardroom meeting, Sydney
  • Sarah Oxenbridge
  • 20 September 2018
The work and career experiences of Australian Women in Investment Management
  • Women in Super Membership Meeting, Cairns
  • Sarah Oxenbridge
  • 5 September 2018
Attracting and retaining women in investment management roles
  • Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees ASI Conference, Cairns
  • Sarah Oxenbridge
  • 5 September 2018
Menstrual leave; A new controversy?
  • 15th Annual International Seminar of the International Network on Leave Policies and Research, Toronto, Canada
  • Marian Baird and Elizabeth Hill
  • 13 July 2018
Dad and partner pay: The emergence of paternity leave in Australia
  • 15th Annual International Seminar of the International Network on Leave Policies and Research, Toronto, Canada
  • Leo Gordon and Marian Baird
  • 13 July 2018
Australian Women’s Work Futures
  • NSW Fire and Rescue International Women’s Day Keynote Address
  • Marian Baird
  • 8 March 2018
Fatigue and work-life blend
  • Presentation to Australian Federation of Airline Pilots/Civil Air International Women’s Day Conference, Brisbane
  • Sarah Oxenbridge
  • 6 March 2018
Women and Work Futures keynote
  • Australian Labour and Employment Relations Association, ACT 2018 Conference: Fair Work – Past, Present, Future
  • Marian Baird
  • 2 March 2018
The Labour Market and Policy: Context for Mature Age Workers
  • Centre of Excellence on Population Ageing research, Workshop on Mature Labour Force Participation, Canberra
  • Marian Baird
  • 19 October 2017
Strengthening our organisations through encouraging a diverse and inclusive workforce
  • Presentation to AFAC Fire and Emergency Management Conference, Sydney
  • Sarah Oxenbridge
  • 4 September 2017
Flexibility Fixes
  • ACTU NexGen Conference 2017, Sydney
  • Marian Baird
  • 27 June 2017
Enhancing Gender Equality
  • UN Women and University of Sydney
  • Rae Cooper
  • 14 June 2017
Technical Working Party on Working Hours and Leave
  • International Labour Organization, Geneva
  • Marian Baird
  • 29-30 May 2017
Developing Leadership for Good
  • Presentation at St Andrew's College Prize Night
  • Marian Baird
  • 25 May 2017
The big picture: Impacts of judging on laws relating to tax, work and childcare
  • Presentation at the Asia Pacific Regional Conference of the International Association of Women Judges, Sydney
  • Marian Baird with Myra Hamilton (UNSW)
  • 28 April 2017
Paid Parental Leave Updates
  • Presentation to Work and Family Policy Roundtable, Sydney
  • Marian Baird
  • 27 April 2017
Gender gaps at a glance
  • Presentation to Women of Influence Roundtable, Menzies Centre
  • Marian Baird
  • 31 March 2017
The new life cycle of women, work and leadership
  • Keynote presentation to the Office of State Revenue
  • Marian Baird
  • 30 March 2017
Leading women speak out (webcast)
  • Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS)
  • Marian Baird
  • 8 March 2017
Be bold for change
  • University of Sydney Business School International Women’s Day Celebration
  • Rae Cooper
  • 8 March 2017
International Women’s Day Address
  • Saint Scholastica’s College 
  • Rae Cooper
  • 7 March 2017
Best Practice in Parental Leave Policy
  • Presentation to KitchenAid
  • Marian Baird and Alexandra Heron
  • 31 January 2017

Policy submissions

Explore our contributions to policy affecting women.

Gender lens on the budget 2018-2019

With the National Foundation of Australian Women.

View and download the findings (pdf, 1.6MB).

Analysis of the impact of the government’s proposed changes to paid parental leave on key workers in South Australia

With Fair Agenda

Download the recommendations (pdf, 550KB).