Call: Retheorizing Gender & Political Leadership from Asia and the Pacific: Lessons for a more diverse Australian political landscape

Research that helps us understand and overcome the lack of gender diversity in politics is dominated by studies from Euro-America. Theories, concepts and analytical frames developed from a small number of country contexts are applied to the ‘rest of the world’. This workshop aims to turn this production of knowledge on its head, centring scholarship about gender and politics from Asia and the Pacific to rethink the certainties as to what is known, the theoretical and conceptual tools we use, and the research directions we pursue. The aim is to advance the field of gender and politics internationally, while also distilling key lessons that can help address the underrepresentation of Australians from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds in politics at all levels, particularly ‘Women of Colour’.

A two-day workshop will bring together scholars/researchers/practitioners working on gender and politics across Asia and the Pacific (including Australia) to engage in inter-disciplinary dialogue about gender, political leadership, representation and participation. Together, we will answer two questions:

  1. What are the consequences of the centring of Euro-American perspectives in the study of gender in politics? What are the opportunities for theorising from Asia and the Pacific?
  2. How can research on gender and politics in Asia and the Pacific inform theory and practice of Australian politics? In particular, how can we leverage our knowledge to understand and address problems of the over-representation of legislatures by men of European ancestry, and the under-representation of ‘Women of Colour’ at all levels of politics? 
  3. What are the priorities for research and practical action in order to increase the political representation of Asian Australians and other ‘people of colour’ in Australia? 

Privileging perspectives from Asia and the Pacific is not to exclude research that draws upon analytical and theoretical models with their origins in Euro-American experiences. Through dialogue we aim to find new ways of looking at familiar problems, while also appreciating how extant tools remain useful to understand the global problem of women’s political under-representation.  Facilitated discussion between academics, practitioners and policy makers will identify research directions with the most potential to inform practice.

The workshop will be held in hybrid form, planning for both face-to-face and online participation. We are particularly keen for participation by researchers located in institutions in Asia and the Pacific.

The workshop will be held between 2-4 February 2022 at ANU Campus and online

Wed 2 Feb: Half-day ECR workshop/networking session
ANU Gender Institute Signature Event: Opening Public Forum
A panel of scholars from Asia, Pacific and Australia will offer insights and interventions about the workshop theme followed by discussion and audience Q&A
Thurs 3 Feb: Research presentations; brainstorming innovative research directions; praxis dialogue
Workshop Dinner
Fri 4 Feb: Research presentations; brainstorming innovative research directions; praxis dialogue
Global Institute for Women’s Leadership In Conversation Event
Female political leaders in Australia respond to the workshop outcomes

Call for papers (research): We invite abstracts of up to 150 words on the general workshop theme. We encourage research papers and theoretical interventions on women’s political leadership from Asia, Pacific and Australia. We particularly encourage papers that seek to:

  • Propose new analytical/conceptual/theoretical approaches or new lines of enquiry;
  • Outline the contributions of different disciplinary approaches beyond political science;
  • Reverse the ‘universalisation’ of research from Euro-America and the ‘provincialisation’ of research from the rest of the world;
  • Rethink intersectionality from an Asian, Pacific and/or Australian lens 
  • Demonstrate how research from Asia and the Pacific can energise research and deepen understanding of Australian politics; 
  • Advance understandings of Asian Australian political leadership and the means towards a more representative democracy. 
Call for participants (praxis): We invite expressions of interest from organisations, agencies and departments who seek the promotion of political leadership by women, non-binary people and ‘people of colour’ as an objective, or core mission. Representatives will have the opportunity to discuss the work they do, their future objectives and research priorities.  

Abstracts of up to 150 words are due 18 October 2021, and can be sent to

A limited number of bursaries are available for PhD students, ECRs and casual academics based in Australia to facilitate in-person participation. Please indicate if you would like to considered for a bursary.

The workshop is proudly supported by the ANU Gender Institute, The Global Institute for Women’s Leadership, ANU, The Centre for Asian Australian Leadership and the School of Culture, History and Language, College of Asia and the Pacific. 

Image: 1000 Words /




Gender Institute

Date posted

Wednesday, 25 August 2021

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