Former prime minister Julia Gillard has voiced concerns flexible working arrangements could render women "invisible" and see them miss out on promotions and career development.
Ms Gillard moderated a panel about workplace gender equality, hosted by the Australian National University's Global Institute for Women's Leadership - which she founded - on Wednesday.
Discussing how COVID-19 affected the workplace, Ms Gillard said because of the unequal distribution of caring and domestic labour, there could be a risk of a pattern emerging of women disproportionately choosing to work from home.
"Men being much more regular attenders at the office, and that very visibility then changes...who's being considered for promotion, who's going to be considered for sponsorship, mentorship, who's being put on the best training opportunities because the women are kind of invisible behind the screen," she said.
Ms Gillard said she found the longer workplaces operated virtually, the more "fragmented" they became which impacted "cultural cohesion" across the organisation.
Ms Gillard, the first woman to hold Australia's top job, congratulated "Prime Minister Albo" for swearing in a record number of women into his ministry.
The panel made up of gender equality commissioners and experts threw their support behind further subsidising childcare as a policy to boost women's workforce participation.
They also backed changing the culture so men always took their paid parental leave and didn't view the time off from work as a career killer.
Australian Associated Press
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