Australia's work/care supports
This DPhil project focuses on 'Australia's Regulatory Framework of Work/Care Supports and the Worker/Carer: A Gender Justice Perspective'.
Amanda is a DPhil student and research assistant with Monash University's Business Law and Taxation department. She is interested in researching questions of legal reform that address issues of access to justice and equality using comparative and mixed methods approaches. Her research often involves feminist and interdisciplinary perspectives. She completed her Bachelor of Law (Honours) degree at Monash University where she was actively involved in research endeavours. This included an internship at the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC), serving as a research mentor with the Centre for Undergraduate Research and Excellence, presenting at the International Conference for Undergraduate Research, publishing on academic blogs and authoring an Honours Thesis.
She also has professional experience in law having undertaken traineeships in law firms in Melbourne and Kuala Lumpur. She completed her Practical Legal Training with the Australian National University and has been admitted as a lawyer in the Supreme Court of Victoria. Outside of her thesis, Amanda is currently working on several research projects as a research assistant and looks forward to further developing her research abilities and experience.
Project background and aims
While women's participation in Australia's workforce has seen steady increases, women continue to work on blatantly unequal terms. Women are more likely to work in part-time or casual roles, work fewer hours and feature disproportionately in lower-paying jobs and industries with much of these discrepancies arising due to women's disproportionate carer responsibilities.
Nancy Fraser was among the first scholars to identify the need for gender equal patterns of care and its role in achieving gender equality in the workplace. In light of this, Fraser and others proposed that the only acceptable gender equal society would be a universal caregiving society where the worker/carer is treated as the norm. As such, this thesis explores the extent to which Australia's relevant regulatory framework promotes a gender just, universal caregiving society through the provision of work/care supports that meet this thesis's original gender justice criteria of universal availability, enforceability, supportiveness and gender neutrality.
The thesis will assess Australia's present regulatory framework of work/care supports, the work/care supports currently being offered in workplaces, and workplace considerations when introducing work/care supports. These findings will offer contemporary insights as to the state of Australia's regulatory framework for work/care supports, highlight shortcomings, provide insight into the regulatory framework's influence on workplace practices and illuminate the drivers and barriers of corporate behaviour to inform how best to implement identified opportunities for reform.
The thesis uses doctrinal analysis to critically assess Australia's present regulatory framework in relation to work/care supports against this thesis's gender justice framework. It also includes a quantitative analysis of the work/care supports offered in nearly 5000 Australian workplaces using SPSS to provide descriptive statistics into the spread of work/care supports across the variables of company size, industry type and gender-dominance. Regression analyses will also be used to identify the extent to which these variables influence the provision of work/care supports.
The thesis will also feature semi-structured interviews with company representatives to illuminate other factors that may be influencing the provision of work/care supports, workplace perceptions around the need for a universal caregiving society and present drivers and barriers to implementing work/care supports.