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Journal Articles


This article was selected for a special, World Bank sponsored edition of Feminist Economics on “Voice and Agency”. The article presents the results of an empirical study of the links between women’s representation in parliament and constitutional protection from gender-based discrimination. The results underscore the role of constitutional design in promoting women’s agency.

This paper reports the results of an investigation, undertaken as part of the Missing Workers project, into the relationship between work ability, increased age and turnover intentions in the aged care workforce. The paper’s findings highlight that, compared to European nurses, Australian aged care workers have relatively high levels of work ability. However, work ability declines with age, especially amongst registered nurses, and it is a key source of turnover for community care workers and personal care assistants.

This key paper from the Missing Workers project explores Adam Smith’s concept of recognition and considers the importance of recognition and misrecognition for a nuanced understanding of the motivation to undertake paid care work. Survey and interview data presented in the paper suggest that low wages convey misrecognition and that both wages and misrecognition have adverse implications for the future labour supply of aged care workers.

We examine the relationship between women’s representation on corporate boards and fraud. Drawing on a discussion of existing studies, we hypothesise that increasing women’s representation on boards can help mitigate fraud. We provide validation to our conjecture through an empirical analysis of 128 publicly listed companies in Australia. We show that the increase in women’s representation on company boards is associated with a decreased probability of fraud. We demonstrate the consistency of this result across different robustness checks. We believe that our findings could be of interest to policy makers interested in enhancing board governance and monitoring.


This article was an invited contribution to a special edition of the ATF to celebrate the anniversary of Australia’s Income Tax Assessment Act. The paper presents the arguments for a gender impact analysis of taxation, using the example of superannuation to demonstrate the inequity and inefficiency that emerges when gender impacts are not considered and countered.

This is paper explores contrasting economic analyses of gender and wages presented at the Australian equal remuneration hearings, which Siobhan participated in as an expert witness. It incorporates a discussion of the use mathematical methods and specialist techniques in economic analysis and argues that these can deflect attention from important assumptions and ideological commitments underlying economic analyses of gendered patterns of work and pay. Debate in the public sphere is identified as offering the potential to explain and discuss the methods and assumptions of economic analysis, and to better understand their social and policy implications.

A further output from the Missing Workers’ project, this paper examines the links between informal care roles and the turnover intention of mature age women in Australia’s aged care sector. The paper identifies important differences in the links between informal care roles and turnover intentions between women according to their economic circumstance. Women living in households with relatively low economic resources reduce their turnover intention when their informal care roles increase, reflecting the financial pressures associated with these roles and highlighting the importance of measures to enable women to maintain their paid work roles in the presence of other commitments.

Women lag behind men in many domains. Feminist scholars have proposed that sex-based grammatical systems in languages reinforce traditional conceptions of gender roles, which in turn contribute to disadvantaging women. This article evaluates the empirical plausibility of this claim in the context of women’s labour market outcomes. Based on a sample of over 100 countries, the analysis shows that places where the majority language is gender-intensive have lower participation of women in the labour force. Individual-level estimates further underscore this finding and indicate a higher prevalence of gender-discriminatory attitudes among speakers of gender-intensive languages.

Book Chapters


Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Heterodox Economics

Therese Jefferson, Siobhan Austen, Rhonda Sharp, Rachel Ong, Valerie Adams and Gill Lewin, 2016 “A mixed methods approach to investigating the employment decisions of aged care workers in Australia”, in Lee, F. and Cronin, B., Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Heterodox Economics, Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham

This chapter describes the development and implementation of a mixed methods research project that was designed to investigate the characteristics and experience of women aged 45 and over working in the Australian aged care sector. The key issue of interest is whether these workers planned to remain in or leave employment in the sector. This study utilises an embedded mixed methods framework of enquiry, utilising secondary data from a large national survey, organisational employment data, purposefully collected survey data and semi structured interview data collection and analysis. This framework captures the potential of quantitative data to identify national patterns of mature age women’s employment, the employment decisions made by aged care workers at an organisational level and patterns of employment exit and retention by aged care workers at an industry level. Individual qualitative data provides insights into the experiences of the aged care workers within specific institutional contexts.


WiSER Submission to the Senate Inquiry into Economic Security for Women in Retirement

Senate Standing Committees on Economics 2015 ‘Achieving economic security for women in retirement’, Canberra

WiSER submission to the Senate Inquiry into Economic Security for Women in Retirement




Work, Care & Family Policies - Election Benchmarks 2016

The Work + Family Policy Roundtable 2016, Work, Care & Family Policies – Election Benchmarks 2016, The Women + Work Research Group, Sydney






A Gender Lens - Budget 2016-17

National Foundation for Australian Women 2016, A Gender Lens – Budget 2016-17Canberra