EXTERNALLY FUNDED RESEARCH PROJECTS
The impact of workplace culture on gender equality
The growing evidence base in relation to workplace gender equality has, to date, focused primarily on interventions targeting formal gender equality indicators, such as pay equity; gender composition of all levels of the workforce, including governing bodies; prevention of and responses to workplace sexual harassment; recruitment and promotion practices; gendered work segregation; and leave and flexibility options. An area that has been less explored is the impact of the workplace culture in which these interventions are applied.
Workplace culture refers to the environment employees operate in and includes the often-unspoken norms, behaviours and attitudes that are considered acceptable and tolerated. Workplace culture has been identified as crucial to the success of the above interventions (e.g. using paid domestic and family violence leave).
When a workplace culture is not supportive of such interventions, outcomes like those described by the "Nordic paradox" result. The Nordic paradox posits that female advancement creates male backlash, and when gender norms, stereotypes and attitudes are not addressed, the negative outcomes are expressed elsewhere. Here in Australia, research shows that women earning more than their partners and thus violating the "male breadwinner" stereotype, are 35 per cent more likely to experience partner violence and 20 per cent more likely to experience emotional abuse.
This research aims to gain new insights into the views and experiences of Australian-based workers on how workplaces can create and maintain a culture that is supportive of gender equality. This project will utilise an online national survey to gain new knowledge about:
1. Australian-based workers’ views on the current status of gender equality in their workplace.
2. Insights into the current cultural climate of Australian workplaces.
3. Areas for further policy and practice reform.