The Centre for Work, Organisation and Wellbeing’s Professor Glenda Strachan was awarded the prestigious Vic Taylor Award for Distinguished Long-Term Contribution at the annual Association of Industrial Relations Academics in Australia and New Zealand (AIRAANZ) conference on Friday (12 February).
Recognising the outstanding contribution of Australian and New Zealand academics to the field of Industrial/ Employment/ Labour Relations and Workplace education and research, Glenda is Griffith University’s first recipient of this honour.
“A major focus of my research has been the position of women in the workforce. Prior to the 1980s there was not much [academic] literature on women in labour relations and trade unions: the worker was seen as homogenous, yet only men were studied. Part of my research has been putting women back into the story,” explains Glenda.
Bringing equity legislation and policy into the spotlight has likewise been a major area of research for Glenda, although she concedes that Australian workplace studies are still trying to get these matters seen as a part of the employment relationship alongside classical industrial regulation.
Announcing the 2015 Award’s recipient, AIRAANZ President, Dr Johanna Macneil highlighted Professor Strachan’s influence upon the field, having cemented the place of industrial relations (IR) scholarship at Newcastle and Griffith Universities, and feminist IR research particularly, alongside her significant mentoring efforts.
A frequent collaborator, WOW’s Associate Professor Janis Bailey spoke also of Glenda’s broad reaching impact:
“Professor Strachan’s outstanding research has both breadth and depth, and contemporary and historical strands, with a commitment to feminist ideals. …She has influenced scores of researchers, many of whom are now making their own distinctive contributions… She has contributed actively to public policy. She is always generous with her time, and is a quiet and self-effacing contributor to IR scholarship, encouraging others to take the limelight. …”
Reflecting herself on thirty years of equity research and advocacy, Glenda still desires to see however:
“….equity, diversity and gender be a part of the central issues we grapple with as a part of the workplace/ worker-employer/employment relationship/ industrial relations debates and studies, in the same vein as we worry about wage policy, for example.”
Vic Taylor was a founding member of AIRAANZ. Sadly, Vic became ill and died in September 2004. This peer-nominated Award, alongside the Vic Taylor Most Promising Paper Award, was established in his honour by Dr Doreen Tan, his widow, and in consultation with some of Vic’s colleagues and friends in AIRAANZ.