WOW’s Dr Kaye Broadbent wants to shine a light on the employment conditions of those who are vulnerable and oppressed. Her research works towards affecting positive change by highlighting the ways in which people’s lives can be improved through equitable and just employment conditions. We caught up with Kaye to learn a little more about why she does what she does….

In what area/s do your current research interests lie?

A large area of my research in the past seven years has come as a part of team that secured an ARC [Australian Research Council] Linkage project looking at gender equity and employment in universities. We have released several reports, most recently the Women, Careers and Universities: Where to From Here?From this ARC project and a grant from the Office of Learning and Teaching, my focus on the insecurity of employment in universities, especially for research and teaching focused academics, has developed. I also conduct research in Japan looking at the gendered nature of care work and [am] currently examining labour dissent during the war.

What are you working on at the moment?

I have research underway in all of the aforementioned areas, but I am also co-editing (with Professors Glenda Strachan and Geraldine Healy) a book on gender in the professions with an international focus. I’m also researching with two colleagues from Guangzhou the employment conditions of married female Chinese migrant workers.

As Co-convenor of the EGDE [Equity, Diversity and Gender in Employment] theme [at WOW], we hold bi-annual workshops …for [academics], HDRs [Higher Degree Researchers] and practitioners…to address the broad theme of EDGE in work and organisations. As my fellow co-Convenor, Glenda Strachan says in this clip, we continue to work to make EDGE central to the discussion about the employment relationship instead of just an add on:

Has there been major developments or key findings that have directed the trajectory of the research?

Insecure employment in Japan is growing and a large number of women are employed [under such conditions]…. The deregulation of the Japanese labour market promoted this interest. A significant finding was that part-time work is structured with women in mind as the result of a strong ‘male-bread-winner’ ideology.

My focus on labour dissent during the war extends an earlier project on resistance in Japan. This project developed to counter the mainstream narrative of Japan during the war which is that the population fell in behind the militarists drive to war. I am slowly uncovering evidence of resistance which is exciting.

Finally, are there challenges in your field/s in trying to bridge the gap between research, practice and policy?

Gender has been a focus in universities but as our report shows…a suite of equity policies alone…[does not] go far enough to improve gender equality. There was some media interest following the release of our report, so let’s hope policy makers consider the recommendations.