A Realistic Agenda? Women only programs as strategic interventions for building gender equitable workplaces

This thesis examines an organisational change intervention designed to build more gender equitable workplaces. The intervention relies on what could be considered a tried and true gender equity strategy: a women only (WO) development program. It asks, are such programs capable of contributing to the transformation of workplaces that is called for by feminist scholars such as Cockburn (1991) Meyerson and Fletcher (2000) and Sinclair (1994)?

Jen examines the ‘bifocal approach’ as applied by the Leadership Development for Women program (LDW) delivered in two historically masculinist institutions, the University of Western Australia and a policing organisation. Qualitative data from the three potential constituency groups that form the heart of the bifocal approach - executive level champions of the program, senior female and male mentors, and the female participants - is used to examine the effectiveness of the bifocal approach.