Flexible families = workplace equality

As we celebrate International Women's Day 2016, Dr Leah Ruppanner offers five key ideas that could help equalise gender relations and improve the status of families. She draws upon current research and lessons from around the world to provide innovative and novel ideas that could be instituted in the Australian context.

Sharing the childcare load across the community could be the secret weapon in the fight for workforce gender parity

By Dr Leah Ruppanner, School of Social and Political Sciences, Faculty of Arts, The University of Melbourne

Flexible families = workplace equality
Getty images

Some suggestions are rooted in policy, while others focus on the power of community.

  1. Involve the community in childcare
    One of the biggest challenges for modern families is to balance work and family demands.
  2. Make men the focus
    Men today are more committed to co-parenting and gender egalitarianism than in previous generations.
  3. Synchronise work and school schedules
    Parents are intrinsically tied to children's schedules. This poses a major problem when work and school schedules are not synchronised.
  4. Spread care across the generations
    The emphasis on individual solutions to care-giving problems is a western phenomenon.
  5. Broaden leave arrangements
    As academia and organisations increasingly focus on complex issues of work-life balance and provide better support to parents, the institutional support for childless people is largely absent.

Read more about these suggestions...