Are women still left holding the baby?

Monday, 10 November 2008

Women are finding it increasingly difficult to combine careers and family responsibilities. This will be the topic of the next University of Adelaide free Research Tuesdays Public Seminar on Tuesday 11 November.

Professor Ann Brooks, Head of the University's School of Social Sciences, will examine the reasons behind research findings which show a drop in support since the 1990s for women maintaining careers alongside family responsibilities.

She comments that recent research shows that women's careers, in particular, are seemingly being sacrificed to the "emotional labour demands" of parenting, caring and domestic responsibilities.

"There has been a shift in thinking on the part of both women and men, compared to the 1990s, away from a positive view of women maintaining careers and family responsibilities," says Professor Brooks. "This is worrying for women who wish to maintain careers and active roles as full-time members of the workforce."

Professor Brooks will draw on her own research on women in corporate and academic careers in Asia and other recent research and debates from Australia and the US to discuss the reasons for the reversal in attitudes about working mothers, and the implications for women's careers and workforce productivity.

"It's essential that women continue to hold decision-making roles and that there is a gender balance in the workforce," she says.

Professor Brooks is a sociologist and expert in gender analysis. She joined the University of Adelaide in 2008 as Professor of Gender, Work and Cultural Studies and Head of the School of Social Sciences, having previously been Head of the Department of Sociology at Singapore Institute of Management University. Professor Brooks has also held university positions in the UK and New Zealand. She has been involved in undertaking commissioned research for the International Labour Organisation and in research with the Institute of Policy Studies in Singapore.

She has published extensively in areas relating to gender and academic life, globalisation, labour markets and cultural studies. She has written four books and a wide range of journal articles. Her latest book, Social Theory in Contemporary Asia: Intimacy, Reflexivity and Identity, will be published by Routledge in 2009 and another, Globalization, Gender and Emotional Labour, is in progress.

Held on the second Tuesday of every month, Research Tuesday gives leading experts from the University of Adelaide an opportunity to engage with business, community leaders and the general public on issues that impact on them.

WHAT: 'The commercialisation of intimate life: are women still left holding the baby?'
WHERE: Lecture Theatre 102, Napier Building, North Terrace Campus, University of Adelaide.
WHEN: 5.30pm, Tuesday 11 November
COST: The lecture is free but please book by email: or phone: (08) 8303 3692


Contact Details

Professor Ann Brooks
School of Social Sciences
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5731

Ms Robyn Mills
Media and Communications Officer
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 6341
Mobile: +61 410 689 084