Work & Class
The social position of working-class men across the Western world has been transformed in recent decades. In material terms, the replacement of industrial sector jobs by unemployment and hyphenated forms of service work has all but removed old pathways into a respectable working-class masculinity for young men, while even those retaining a position in skilled manual labour find themselves worse off than their fathers had been relative to the rest of the workforce.
Research shows that women, especially those with caring responsibilities, are more likely than men to both request and access flexible work. As a result, it is often assumed that flexible work is more relevant to women. Organisational practices are often developed with this perspective in mind. However, workforce demographics and family models have changed (e.g. 63% of fathers with resident dependent children now have a partner in the paid workforce) and this has led to increased work/family conflict for men. This new Australian report notes that many men do not conform to the ideal ‘full-time’ worker model and instead have a range of priorities and aspirations, e.g. to be active and engaged fathers. Research also shows that workplace flexibility is a key driver of employment decisions and job performance for both women and men, including young men, male managers, men approaching retirement and especially younger fathers. Given the above, having greater access to flexible work will enable men to increase their engagement in caregiving and household work, which in turn will help to facilitate gender equality at work. When couples share caring and domestic tasks more equitably, women who have traditionally undertaken the majority of these responsibilities are better positioned to access quality employment opportunities. Yet it is a rare organisation indeed that has focussed on gender equality in caring or on the critical role that men accessing flexible work might play in this.
On 22 June 2013, the Attorney-General’s Department asked the Australian Human Rights Commission to conduct a national review on the prevalence, nature and consequences of discrimination in relation to pregnancy at work and return to work after parental leave.
Men—and white men in particular—have a critical role to play in creating inclusive workplaces. But how can companies support this group as they step up to the challenge of creating inclusive leadership? This third report in Catalyst's Engaging Men in Gender Initiatives series takes an in-depth look at the approach one company, Rockwell Automation, pursued.
Australian men want and need access to flexible working to support their important roles as fathers, carers and engaged volunteers in their communities, but their uptake of flexible working is limited and most commonly involves informal ‘flextime’ and ad hoc working from home structured around full-time work, according to research conducted by Diversity Council Australia on men and flexible working.
This talk offers a stocktake of the White Ribbon Campaign in Australia: what it has achieved so far, the obstacles it faces, and the ways forward. I begin with an inspiring and accessible overview of the campaign: its character, its components, and its significance. I describe the campaign’s real achievements, its contributions to positive social change in community attitudes, relationships, and policy. I highlight the obstacles which the campaign faces. And I end by spelling out the key steps which can be taken – by ordinary men and women, policy-makers, managers, sporting bodies, and others – to make a difference. I urge that we use the F-word – feminism – to guide our efforts.
Eleven male business leaders from a group called the Male Champions of Change have devised this best practice guide of strategies to assist large organisations to increase the number of women in leadership roles.
The Male Champions of Change, convened by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick, are committed to discussing and promoting strategies and actions that elevate women’s representation in leadership.
Discrimination against women in public sector organisations has been the focus of considerable research in recent years. While much of this literature acknowledges the structural basis of gender inequality, strategies for change are often focused on anti-discrimination policies, equal employment opportunities and diversity management. Discriminatory behaviour is often individualised in these interventions and the larger systems of dominance and subordination are ignored. The flipside of gender discrimination, we argue, is the privileging of men. The lack of critical interrogation of men’s privilege allows men to reinforce their dominance. In this paper we offer an account of gender inequalities and injustices in public sector institutions in terms of privilege. The paper draws on critical scholarship on men and masculinities and an emergent scholarship on men’s involvement in the gender relations of workplaces and organisations, to offer both a general account of privilege and an application of this framework to the arena of public sector institutions and workplaces in general.
Citation: Flood, M., and B. Pease. (2006). Undoing Men’s Privilege and Advancing Gender Equality in Public Sector Institutions. Policy and Society, 24(4): 119-138.