Gendered Excellence in the Social Sciences

GESS project summary

Feminist scholarship has been central to the international success and prominence of the Australian social sciences. But how effective has feminist critique been in reshaping what counts as authoritative knowledge in the disciplines?

Gender budgeting

Gender budgeting is a key government and civil society process that contributes to gender equal policy development and holds governments accountable for achieving gender equality goals.

Violence against women in politics: Rethinking definitions of political violence

Feminist scholarship has highlighted the need to adopt broader definitions of ‘violence,’ and to recognise that the motives and means of political violence may be deeply gendered.

Parliaments as gendered workplaces

Using feminist scholarship this case study explores debates and policy reforms that can make parliament a more ‘attractive’ career option for women.

Women in the Australian economy: Reconceptualising women’s place in the public sphere

Feminist historians have complicated any clear binary between public and private spheres, redefined concepts such as ‘work’ and ‘politics’, and provided more inclusive histories.

Feminist economics and retirement income and savings policy

The discipline of economics has neglected subjects that particularly affect women, resulting in policies that have produced gender inequality in retirement income.

Gendered perspectives on Anzac

The Anzac legend is the most popular and pervasive symbol of Australian nationhood. Innovative gendered perspectives expand our understanding of the Great War and challenge the dominance of the Anzac legend in the national iconography.

New ways to measure economic activity: Breastfeeding as an economic indicator

Breastfeeding and human milk provides an archetypical illustration of how feminist economic analysis has contributed new ways of thinking, and approaches to policymaking.

The individual deprivation measure: A gender sensitive approach to multi-dimensional poverty measurement

Feminist intervention has shown that women and men experiencing poverty differently.

Smoking as a gendered activity

Smoking is one of the major public health issues that has been productively addressed by feminist social science research.

About the project

Gender equity has still not been realised, despite decades of activism, policy and research. In some of the social sciences women make up less than 15 per cent of the professoriate. Yet these are the disciplines that should most aid our understanding of how gender works in society. This project asks what impact women’s limited influence and status in these key fields of research has upon our capacity to grapple with the social and political changes necessary for progress toward gender equality. In doing so, it builds persuasive arguments about how and why gender matters in the social sciences.

The project takes a new approach to advancing gender equity within Australian society by asking how well we can understand the problems if we do not first address patterns of gender bias within the social sciences. The project provides a complex picture of why social science disciplines differ so markedly in this respect and the costs for disciplinary innovation and social change. It also provides case-studies of gender innovation in the social sciences and its benefits.

Call for papers: Excellence and Gender Equality - Critical Perspectives on Gender and Knowledge in the Humanities and Social Sciences

This conference explores the intersection of gender equality and academic evaluation of excellence, with a specific focus on the Humanities and Social Science (HASS) disciplines. Proposals are sought by 6 March 2019.


Updated:  7 November 2012/Responsible Officer:  Convenor, Gender Institute/Page Contact:  Web manager, Gender Institute