The Gender Equity Initiative is an initiative coming out of the University of Melbourne’s Future of Work Lab and is committed to harnessing cutting-edge research to empower individuals, for-profit organisations, and governments in making informed decisions that contribute to a more equitable and inclusive future of work for women.
A key mission is to bridge the gap between academia and practical application, ensuring that the benefits of ground-breaking research are accessible to all.
The Gender Equity team champions nurturing education and training products that reach women at critical points in their educational and career trajectory with a focus on future of work skill building.
We are committed to a future of work that is inclusive of and designed for women.
The Gender Equity Initiative has three main research interests – the impact of technological changes on the future of women at work, measuring sources of discrimination and bias at work and the mental load. We have a range of research programs that capture these themes.
Research Program 1 – The impact of technological changes on the future of women at work
Technological advancement, automation and artificial intelligence will be increasingly utilised in our day-to-day work lives. This research program aims to identify how women will be impacted by these shifts, and what skills they require to be competitive in the future of work. This includes the exclusion of young women in STEM. Understanding women’s unique experiences is critical given that the future of work will equate to job loss in specific industries and occupations, and shifts in tasks and skills and we know that women cluster in certain industries and occupations.
Research Program 2 – Measuring sources of discrimination and bias at work
Women and caregivers face bias at work in various ways. This research stream investigates how caregiving can have a significant impact on workplace inequality, how gendered myths limit workplaces' sustainable engagement with employees, and organisations' ability to meet future of work challenges, and how organisations can recognise and mitigate gender bias and in data to ensure effective decision-making.
Research Program 3 – The Mental Load
This research program is investigating the mental load; the thinking work we do that combines cognitive and emotional labour. While there are theoretical understandings of the mental load, there is a dearth of quantitative research. This project expects to develop a consistent and reliable measure of the mental load and an understanding of its impacts on Australian families.
Friday 1pm - 1:45pmFlexible Work in a Post-Pandemic WorldEvent
Friday 11am - 12pmWork Futures CompetitionEvent
Thursday 1pm - 1:45pmChanges in work and care under COVID-19: Implications for the recoveryEvent
Thursday 1pm - 1:45pmDefining and Addressing the Mental LoadEvent
Thursday 1pm - 1:45pmThe Race With MachinesEvent
Parenting Work Skills Certificate
Intense periods of caregiving build key transferable skills that are essential for the future of work. Parents re-entering employment after leave bring unique value to workplaces. Let us help you tap into this potential by linking experiences in caregiving to building critical future of work skills.
Talks and Masterclasses
Whether you’re looking to upskill yourself or reskill your team, our short talks and workshops are an opportunity to develop key skills that are critical to the future of work. Presented by Prof. Leah Ruppanner, these talks and workshops can be bundled together to provide a bespoke series that effectively targets the needs of your company. We discuss a range of future of work themes, including:
The Mental Load
The world of work is changing, and the Mental Load is a critical tool to understand the burnout, exhaustion, and attrition of a diverse workforce.
Gender Bias and Discrimination
Organisations need up to date research findings about gender bias and their data to ensure effective decision-making.
The Future of Women at Work
Automation is rapidly transforming the way we work. Learn how women will be disproportionately impacted by these shifts, and what skills they require to be competitive in the future of work.
Caregivers at Work
Parents are uniquely positioned to thrive in the workplace. It is critical to understand how caregiving can be career-enhancing and beneficial to organisations.
Artificial Intelligence and Women
Explore key concepts in AI and discover how they impact gender equity
Adaptability for Artificial Intelligence
Become a more agile and adaptable workplace professional
Gender Bias and Discrimination in Data
Discover how to identify gender bias in the data stored within your organisation
Scarborough, W. J., Collins, C., Ruppanner, L., & Landivar, L. C. COVID-19 and the Care Crisis: An Evidence-Based Policy Recommendation for Supporting Families.
Dean, L., Churchill, B., & Ruppanner, L. (2022). The mental load: Building a deeper theoretical understanding of how cognitive and emotional labor over load women and mothers. Community, Work & Family, 25(1), 13-29.
Tan, X., Ruppanner, L., Maume, D., & Hewitt, B. (2021). Do managers sleep well? The role of gender, gender empowerment and economic development. Plos one, 16(3), e0247515.
Tan, X., Ruppanner, L., & Wang, M. (2021). Gendered housework under China’s privatization: the evolving role of parents. Chinese Sociological Review, 53(5), 514-538.
Landivar, L. C., Scarborough, W. J., Collins, C., & Ruppanner, L. (2022). Do high childcare costs and low access to Head Start and childcare subsidies limit mothers’ employment? A state-level analysis. Social Science Research, 102, 102627.
Tan, X., Lee, R., & Ruppanner, L. (2021). Profiling racial prejudice during COVID‐19: Who exhibits anti‐Asian sentiment in Australia and the United States?. Australian Journal of Social Issues, 56(4), 464-484.
Landivar, L. C., Ruppanner, L., Scarborough, W. J., & Collins, C. (2020). Early signs indicate that COVID-19 is exacerbating gender inequality in the labor force. Socius, 6, 2378023120947997.
Hook, J. L., Ruppanner, L., & Casper, L. M. (2022). Occupational characteristics and parents' childcare time. Journal of Marriage and Family, 84(1), 210-229.
Collins, C., Ruppanner, L., Christin Landivar, L., & Scarborough, W. J. (2021). The gendered consequences of a weak infrastructure of care: School reopening plans and parents’ employment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gender & Society, 35(2), 180-193.
Ruppanner, L., Tan, X., Carson, A., & Ratcliff, S. (2021). Emotional and financial health during COVID‐19: the role of housework, employment and childcare in Australia and the United States. Gender, work & organization, 28(5), 1937-1955.
Ruppanner, L., Maltby, B., Hewitt, B., & Maume, D. (2021). Parents’ sleep across weekdays and weekends: The influence of work, housework, and childcare time. Journal of Family Issues, 0192513X211017932.
Landivar, L. C., Ruppanner, L., & Scarborough, W. J. (2021). Are States Created Equal? Moving to a State With More Expensive Childcare Reduces Mothers' Odds of Employment. Demography, 58(2), 451-470.
Ruppanner, L., Tan, X., Scarborough, W., Landivar, L. C., & Collins, C. (2021). Shifting inequalities? Parents’ sleep, anxiety, and calm during the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia and the United States. Men and Masculinities, 24(1), 181-188.
Scarborough, W. J., Collins, C., Ruppanner, L., & Landivar, L. C. (2021). Head Start and Families' Recovery From Economic Recession: Policy Recommendations for COVID‐19. Family Relations, 70(1), 26-42.
Milner, A., Scovelle, A. J., Hewitt, B., Maheen, H., Ruppanner, L., & King, T. L. (2020). Shifts in gender equality and suicide: A panel study of changes over time in 87 countries. Journal of affective disorders, 276, 495-500.
Collins, C., Landivar, L. C., Ruppanner, L., & Scarborough, W. J. (2021). COVID‐19 and the gender gap in work hours. Gender, Work & Organization, 28, 101-112.
Mannix, K 'The future of Australia’s nursing workforce:COVID-19 and burnout among nurses' (PDF)
Marchant, C 'Man Overboard: Overcoming Gender Stereotypes to Increase Women’s Leadership and Gender Parity onBoards' (PDF)
Tan, C 'Untapped Potential?: Using Technology to Reduce Women’s Domestic Labour Burdens' (PDF)
Lawrie, A 'Using Human Resources Policy to Promote Age Diversity' (PDF)
Martine, A 'What’s Left Unsaid: Speech Emotion Recognition (SER) as a Domestic Violence Screening Tool' (PDF)
Chu, SK 'COVID-19 Infodemic: Empowering Australia against infodemic' (PDF)
Yang, O 'Critical Reflection on Queer Rights Discourse & Determinants of Queer Rights Violations in Mainland China' (PDF)
Gunawansa, A 'Exploring the challenges that women seeking asylum face in gaining employment in Australia' (PDF)
Jenkins, K 'The Gendered Costs of Childcare: A feminist analysis of the effects of Australia’s early childhood education and care system on women’s inequality in the workforce and beyond (PDF)
Dangar, K 'Women, policy and the STEM pipeline: Bridging the gap between tertiary education and the workforce for female STEM students' (PDF)
Thorp, E 'Improving stimulus after COVID-19: What can be learnt from the Australian fiscal response?' (PDF)
An initiative to harness cutting-edge research to empower individuals, for-profit organisations, and governments