How do women make decisions about balancing work and life commitments? What are the pressures on women (and men) who want to be attentive parents, have a successful career and an equal relationship?
One of two keynote speakers at the forthcoming Women, Work and the Wider World IEU Women’s Conference, Dr Sheree Gregory (pictured), Lecturer in Human Resources and Management, in the School of Business at Western Sydney University, has devoted her research to studying contemporary workplace and working life issues, particularity around women and their relationship to the economy, moving into the workforce, equality issues, flexible work and family responsibilities, and work/life ‘interference’.
“Balance is not really always the right word because it can be more like a juggling act,” Dr Gregory said.
Keynote speaker Associate Professor Pep Serow, of the University of New England, will outline her work with the Nauru Teacher Education Project and Pacific Community Welfare and Wellbeing Project.
Dr Gregory will discuss her research and look at how broad political and policy trends and discussions on social justice and inequality can be related to the day to day lives of members at their workplace.
“Today’s world is very complex. My research drills down into the ways people organise their households and working life and questions whether they really do have choices in the decisions they make.
“In Australia, like many other countries, we have economic challenges, we expect equality in a relationship and we want to balance parenting with paid work.
“A concern today is the fragility of relationships and how they are affected by longer work hours, working away from home and the demands to work that new technology makes – that we are ‘on call’ all the time, wherever we are.”
Dr Gregory said the debate is still ‘gendered’ when it comes to issues of childcare and child rearing. For her PhD she interviewed 28 women before and after pregnancy and discussed their return to work, and how and why they made the decisions they did.
As well as the two keynote speakers, the conference includes a selection of six workshops covering a variety of issues including preventing self harm by students, enhancing positive workplace relations, women and money, healthy work/life balance, keeping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues on the agenda and NSW teacher accreditation.