Caring for Prevention: Immigrant Women Aged Care Workers Leading Gender Equality in the Workplace

September 26, 2017

Ms Rosi Aryal, Senior Project Officer at the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health will be at the 2017 STOP Domestic Violence Conference this December, discussing “Caring for prevention: Immigrant women aged care workers leading gender equality in the workplace”

In this paper, we share findings from Equality@Work, the first workplace violence prevention project specific to immigrant and refugee women in Australia. Australia’s shared framework for the primary prevention of violence identifies workplaces as a key setting for prevention initiatives.

Immigrant Women Aged Care Workers Leading Gender Equality
Rosi Aryal

However, organisational prevention programs developed to date have not been tailored for workplaces with a high proportion of immigrant and refugee women employees, who increasingly dominate the Australian aged care workforce, and whose experiences of violence are related to complex intersections between gender inequality, racism, economic marginalisation and political exclusion. In particular, we explore women’s motivations for working in aged care, which are often informed by gendered expectations around caregiving and immigrant women’s structural marginalisation from other forms of work.

The strongly gendered and increasingly racialised nature of aged care work presents both opportunities and challenges for the development of workplace gender equality programs. The Equality@Work project is being conducted through a collaboration between an immigrant and refugee women’s health organisation, the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health (MCWH), and a not-for-profit aged care provider, Southern Cross Care Victoria (SCCV).

This partnership project is one of several collaborations between the two organisations to research and address the intersecting forms of structural disadvantage experienced by the immigrant and refugee women who make up approximately 60 per cent of SCCV’s 1400-strong workforce.

We conclude our paper by critically discussing the challenges and successes of the key elements of the MCWH-SCCV partnership, which include feminist intersectional research, tailored women’s leadership programs for SCCV employees from migrant backgrounds, and the effective engagement of staff at all levels of the organisation.

The 3rd STOP Domestic Violence Conference Australia will be held at Rydges Melbourne from Monday 4 – Tuesday 5 December, followed by half day workshops on Wednesday 6 December 2017.

This year the conference will embark on the theme of ‘Domestic Violence Does Not Discriminate’ with nine featured speakers and over 50 expert stream/ workshop presenters.  The conference aims to provide a platform for a unified national voice on ending domestic violence.

Find out more here.

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