Sydney experts advocate for inclusivity at the OECD

20 May 2019
University of Sydney experts join the OECD Forum 2019
Intergenerational inequality creating a new class system, the need to apply a gender lens on the future of work and women in STEMM are some of the key arguments University of Sydney academics will make at the 2019 OECD Forum.

The OECD Forum provides an opportunity for leading thinkers around the world to discuss key economic and social challenges.

The two-day event (20 – 21 May) brings together high-level government representatives, CEOs, leaders from civil society and trade unions, and prominent members of academia and media. This year the University of Sydney is a partner and sponsor for the event.

Students who are in Paris undertaking a dual degree with the University of Sydney and Sciences Po in France will be attending the forum and six academics have been invited to present at this year’s event.

Women and the future of work

Professor Rae Cooper

“The future of work debate has been very disappointing in its failure to analyse gender difference or to understand the hopes and fears of women workers for their own future of work. Where robots take centre stage, women are at best minor parts in the narrative about the development of occupations, professions and industries.”

STEMM: how can we include more women?

Professor Renae Ryan

“By increasing awareness in the structural and discrete issues faced by women in all spheres, especially within STEMM and academia, we have made it easier for our community to own these problems and further the process of change. The importance of getting this right goes beyond our staff and the culture of our organisation.

“At the University of Sydney, we educate around 67,000 students per year from across Australia and around the world. We have an opportunity to not only educate our students in their speciality areas, but also to create global citizens that have a thorough understanding of the importance of diversity and inclusion to support innovation and progress and to improve our societies by empowering women and girls to achieve their full potential.”

Speaking truth to power

Professor Colm Harmon

“The OECD in my view is at its most powerful when ‘speaking truth to power’. The work on issues such as banking regulation or international tax behaviours may seem esoteric but they are critical examples of work where someone needed to be the anchor in the debate. Developments in higher education, such as the need to promote and shape true mobility of qualifications in the so-called micro-credentials space, could benefit greatly from the role the OECD could play as an arbiter of sorts.” Read the full article

Why we need a new analysis of class

Professor Martijn Konings

“What we have is a new logic of inequality – a new class structure – of which the effects are particularly visible when we look at the millennial cohort. In a recent paper, my colleagues and I have proposed a new class scheme based on assets rather than employment to capture the effects of this in the case of Sydney.”

We need new spending priorities to build the skills of the future

Associate Professor Stefanie Schurer

“OECD Governments will need to radically rethink their model of human capital investment and learn to identify the areas of investment with the highest returns. We need a discourse on which and whose skills to build, keeping in focus the radically changing labour markets, skill demand, and tight government revenues. It is my utter conviction that more money would need to be spent on skill development before the age of five, parenting, and children at risk of harm. These are areas where the largest gains to investment can be made.” Read the full article

Restructuring labour, money and time

Professor Lisa Adkins

Professor Adkins will talk about her book, The Time of Money.

“Speculation is often associated with financial practices, but in The Time of Money I make the case that it not be restricted to the financial sphere. The expansion of finance has created a distinctive social world, one that demands a speculative stance toward life.

“Replacing a logic of extraction, speculation organises our social worlds to maximize the productive capacities of populations around flows of money for finance capital. Speculative practices have become a matter of survival, and defining features of our age are hardwired to their operations—stagnant wages, indebtedness, the centrality of women's earnings to the household, workfarism, and more.”

OECD flags

Photo: OECD/Hervé Cortinat


The partnership with the OECD Forum was led by the University of Sydney’s Office of Global Engagement, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and Business School.

The OECD signed its first internship agreement with an Australian university in 2013, to offer University of Sydney students a number of internship opportunities with the OECD.

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