The Gender of Volunteering: A Qualitative Study of 'Quiet Achievers' in Australia

Dr Josephine Burden
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One measure of social capital now used extensively in the literature is the extent of volunteering evident in a community. The study reported here followed a small group of men and women who had been chosen by a federal politician to be interviewed on his community radio station programme. The title of the programme was "The quiet achievers" and it drew on the community network established by the politician as well as acknowledging high profile volunteers in his electorate. As a researcher, I was given access to pre-interview data gathered by the politician's staff and also listened to the interviews on air. I then followed up the broadcast with in-depth interviews with the nine men and two women who had been chosen. The research process presented an opportunity to explore some of the similarities and differences between women and men in establishing themselves as a community volunteer and the relationships that were constructed around family, community and volunteering.

Keywords: Volunteers, Gender, Community
Stream: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Gender
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Dr Josephine Burden

Convenor of major in Community Cultural Development, Department of Tourism, Leisure, Hotel and Sport Management, Griffith University
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Although she is now located in a large Business School, her particular focus lies with community cultural development and the building of creative, socially inclusive cities and groups of people. Her PhD explored community theatre, older people and the construction of leisure. Her work is informed by feminist theory and she has published in the areas of qualitative research, community and culture, and volunteers.
Originally from Scotland, Josephine is grateful now to live in Quandamooka country on Moreton Bay and she sings with the Combined Unions choir in Brisbane. Their current project is a cabaret about the new industrial relations laws in Australia.

Ref: I06P0171