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Gender in the Australian Public Service: Doing, undoing, redoing or done?
journal contributionposted on 05.02.2019, 00:00 by S Williamson, Linda ColleyLinda Colley
Attention to gender equity has waxed and waned in public services but, by the 1980s, a series of policy changes placed public services amongst the leaders in working conditions for women. Conversely, New Public Management reforms since the 1980s focused on leaner, more efficient government and resulted in the gradual downgrading or stagnation of employment conditions for female public sector employees. In the Australian Public Service (APS), occupational segregation remains, as does under-representation of women in senior management. In 2016, the Australian government announced its commitment to progressing gender equality with the release of an APS gender equality strategy. Drawing on frameworks for ‘doing’ and ‘undoing’ gender at work, this research uses data from interviews and focus groups to first, identify staff experiences in one large APS agency to examine how gender is done, and second, consider the transformative potential of this strategy to lead to workplaces where gender has been redone or undone, and third, consider the implications for women’s equity.