Our projects

woman's hand

Gendered violence and citizenship: the complex effects of intimate partner violence on mental health, housing and employment

Prof Suzanne Franzway, Dr Sarah Wendt, Dr Nicole Moulding, Dr Carole Zufferey and Prof Donna Chung
ARC Discovery Project 2013–2015

This project will examine how intimate partner violence (IPV) impacts on women's citizenship through its effects on the interconnected dimensions of mental health, housing and employment over time. It will produce evidence on women's active and diverse responses to IPV, and provide new understandings of gender, violence and citizenship.

Project website

Missing workers: retaining mature age women workers to ensure future labour security

Prof Rhonda Sharp (with Siobhan Austen, Rachel Ong, Therese Jefferson and Gill Lewin)
ARC Discovery project 2011–2013. Administered by Curtin University of Technology

This project will generate new data and analyses of the factors affecting the retention of mature age women in paid work. It will produce an evidence base on mature age women's employment for the development of policy frameworks aimed at strengthening labour security in the aged care and other sectors.

People, pumps and pipes: a social study of change in the collaborative supply of irrigation services

Dr Lia Bryant (with Dr Matthew Rofe and Prof Guy Robinson)
ARC Linkage Grant 2010–2012

As a result of climate change, water legislation and agricultural adjustment, the Renmark Irrigation Trust (RIT), Australia's oldest trust, is facing unprecedented change. Water management for RIT has moved from a collective enterprise to devolution of licences to individuals. This movement may divide existing social networks. Using participatory research, community and individual perceptions and responses to change will be traced over 3 years. Social dynamics within RIT's multicultural community will be examined as well as community identity, noting the significance of the trust and water as fundamental to working and living for irrigators. Results will inform policies to enable better integration of social dynamics with water trading.

Still in my mind: Gurindji experience, location and visuality

Prof Elspeth Probyn (with Dr Brenda Croft)
ARC Discovery Indigenous grant 2012–2014

This project will develop an innovative historical account of the effects of pictorial representation of Aboriginal identity, using visual, ethnographic and archival sources. It will investigate and critique the impact of ethnocentric codification through which Aboriginal peoples have been framed and refracted throughout the nineteenth century and into the twenty-first century, from a specific Gurindji standpoint.

Taste and place: the transglobal production and consumption of food and drink

Prof Elspeth Probyn
ARC Discovery Grant 2009–2012

In recent times what and where we eat and how and where it is produced have become hot topics. From the global obesity epidemic, to worries about the use of land to grow bio-fuel, food has never been so bewildering. As production and supply chains separate where food is produced from where it is consumed, the analysis of globalisation, gender, class, ethnicity, place and taste are becoming vital.

Epistemologies of workplace change: transforming gender relations in engineering

Suzanne Franzway, Julie Mills, Rhonda Sharp and Judy Gill
ARC Discovery Grant 2009–2011

Rapid economic and social changes have restructured workplaces and the workforce participation of men and women. Engineering exemplifies the benefits of globalisation through the expansion of markets and increased demands for highly paid, skilled workers. Paradoxically, women remain marginal to this workforce, despite many campaigns to improve equity and diversity. We propose a fundamental rethinking of the epistemological underpinnings of prior approaches by using an innovative taxonomy to investigate the production of ignorance of sexual politics of workplace change. This missing dimension of knowledge is critical to the development of successful gender equity campaigns and policies.

The severe shortage of engineers threatens sustainable development in rich and poor countries alike. The situation is exacerbated in Australia by global warming and the mining boom, ultimately constraining the national capacity for future economic development and long-term prosperity. Women are potentially an important source of future engineers, but they are currently neither attracted to nor retained within the profession in significant numbers. This project, involving international collaboration, will generate a new conceptual model designed to redress this problem. A key outcome will be more efficient and effective gender equity policies in engineering and related industries.

Preventing the financial abuse of older people by a family member: designing and evaluating older-person-centred models of family mediation

Dale Bagshaw, Lana Zannettino and Sarah Wendt
ARC Linkage Grant 2009–2010
Industry partners: Department for Families and Communities, Office for the Public Advocate, Relationships Australia, Alzheimer's Australia SA, Guardianship Board 

The financial abuse of older people is a significant social problem that is likely to intensify as Australia's ageing population continues to rise exponentially over the next twenty years. This project engages a broad range of stakeholders, including older people and their families, in the process of developing specialised models of family mediation to reduce the incidence and severity of financial abuse within a framework that promotes social sustainability and family cohesion. The outcomes of the project, therefore, will have a direct and positive impact on policy and practice in the social and economic care of older people.

Project website

Budgeting for women's economic empowerment: the practices and potential for gender-responsive budgeting in the Asia-Pacific region

Prof Rhonda Sharp (with A/Prof Siobhan Austen, Curtin University of Technology and Professor Diane Elson, Essex University, UK)
AusAid Australian Development Research Award 2008–2009

This two-year research project seeks to fill a gap in existing knowledge by investigating the experiences of Asia-Pacific countries in integrating a gender perspective into budgetary processes, the factors that enable and constrain the implementation of these initiatives, and the potential of different gender-responsive budget (GRB) approaches for progressing women's economic empowerment. By identifying and investigating factors that are most crucial in enabling and constraining the potential development of Asia-Pacific GRB initiatives, the project will help inform governments, researchers, NGOs and donors to assist in developing GRB approaches that will contribute to women's economic empowerment in the region. The research also will be useful to stakeholders in the development process by increasing their understanding of how public expenditure can contribute to women's empowerment.

Initially a conceptual framework will be developed to interrogate the relation between government revenues and expenditures and women's economic empowerment. This framework will recognise that women's gains from waged employment and self-employment are affected by policies that shape their contributions (paid and unpaid) to the market, public, community, subsistence and household sectors. This framing will inform a critical review of the theoretical literature on GRB. Evidence on the GRB practices of several countries in the Asia Pacific region (e.g. India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Pakistan, Samoa, RMI, Indonesia, South Korea) will be identified (including official reports and statistics and 'gray' literatures) utilising desk audit strategies of electronic correspondence and teleconferencing with stakeholders. This will be reviewed in the light of the conceptual framework. The conceptual framework will be extended using a detailed case study of the Indonesian national initiative and the potential for an initiative in Timor Leste or Papua New Guinea.

Project website

Restructuring the male breadwinner model? New challenges for a rapidly changing Australia

Prof Rhonda Sharp (with Ray Broomhill and Janine Brodie)
ARC Discovery Project 2008–2012

This project investigates changes to the Australian male breadwinner gender order in the key spheres of the labour market, household and policy by combining quantitative and qualitative research methods with theoretical and policy analysis. Australia's postwar prosperity was underpinned by a male breadwinner model that, though problematic, provided social stability. These gender arrangements have undergone dramatic changes, raising concerns about work–life balance, care provisioning, fertility rates and social cohesiveness. The impact of these changes are vital policy issues. This international collaboration will develop a conceptual framework for identifying policy reform to strengthen Australia's social and economic sustainability.

Recently completed projects

Laura Dales (with David Chapman and Kent Anderson)
Legislation and registration: citizenship, family and Japan's future

Elspeth Probyn (with Kath Albury, Catharine Lumby and Clifton Evers)
Best practice in peer-based mentoring in elite sport

Alison Mackinnon and Patrick O'Leary (with Peter Bishop and Simon Robb)
Doing social sustainability: the utopian imagination of youth on the margins

Suzanne Franzway and Donna Chung
Sustainable economic futures: women, work and domestic violence

Rhonda Sharp (with Jennifer McKay and Janine Pierce)
Social sustainability of emerging environmentally sensitive industries: a case study of oyster aquaculture on the South Australian Eyre Peninsula

Alison Mackinon (with Eleanor Ramsay and Marie Brennan)
Pathways or cul-de-sacs: the causes, impact and implications of part-time senior secondary study

Lana Zannettino, Sarah Wendt and Dale Bagshaw
SA elder abuse prevention action plan

Lia Bryant
Riverland socioeconomic study

Lia Bryant and Lana Zannettino
Women's safety in the West End

Margaret Peters
Corporate communication: trust management

Judy Gill, Suzanne Franzway, Julie Mills and Rhonda Sharp
Gender, workplace and change

Rhonda Sharp, Judy Gill, Julie Mills and Suzanne Franzway
Engineering compared to other male-dominated areas

Suzanne Franzway, Judy Gill, Julie Mills and Rhonda Sharp
Engineering diversity project

Rhonda Sharp
ISTAP gender training of senior Indonesian government officials

Patrick O'Leary
THD Albania consultancy

Donna Chung and Patrick O'Leary (with Tammy Hand)
People's attitudes to abusive relationships

Areas of study and research

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