Sara Charlesworth is an RMIT Professor Emerita. She was previously Professor of Gender, Work & Regulation in the School of Management (2014-2022) and an RMIT Distinguished Professor (2019-2022). Sara is a socio-legal scholar whose research focuses on gender (in)equality in employment at the labour market, industry and organisational levels. She has held two Australian Research Council fellowships, including a Future Fellowship (2013-2018), and held several ARC projects on sexual harassment, gender equality and decent work, quality part-time work, work/life balance and gender-equitable organisational change in male-dominated organisations.
Over recent years of Sara’s research has focused mainly on paid care work, including the Department of Health-funded project, ‘Quality Jobs and Quality Care: Improving work practices to deliver quality aged care jobs & aged care services for older Australians’ and ARC funded Discovery Projects, ‘Markets, Migration and Care in Australia’ and ‘Decent Work & Good Care: International Approaches to Aged Care’. She has also been a chief investigator on several Canadian SSHRC grants including ‘Gender, Migration and the Work of Care: Comparative Perspectives’ . She is currently a chief investigator on the SSHRC-funded ‘Imagining Age–Friendly “Communities” within Communities: International Promising Practices’ and an international partner on the UK ESRC-funded Centre for Care.
Sara’s research also focuses on gender-based violence (GBV) in care work. She has worked with Professor Lydia Hayes (Kent) on a UK Global Challenges Research Fund Strategic Networks–funded comparative case study of gender-based violence in home care work and with Dr Fiona Macdonald (Adjunct Principal Research Fellow RMIT) on a scoping study of GBV in individualised support & care services in Victoria for Worksafe Victoria.
Sara has published and presented widely in a wide range of academic, policy and community fora and has been involved in a number of key gender equality policy reviews and debates. She is deeply committed to collaborative practice and knowledge exchange. Sara was invited to the 2022 Jobs & Skills Summit and presented on collective bargaining for low paid workers and on policy levers to progress gender equality. Previously she was a panel member on the 2012 ACTU Independent Inquiry into Insecure Work, and an advisor to the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) on their 2014 Pregnancy & Return to Work National Review. She has also been an advisor to the Australian Human Rights Commission on their 2012, 2018 and 2022 National Sexual Harassment Prevalence Surveys. Sara was a member of the Victoria Police VEOHRC Review Academic Governance Board (2017-2020), following VEOHRC’s Review of Sexual Harassment and Predatory Behaviour at Victoria Police. In 2017 Sara was appointed to the Victorian government’s Equal Workplaces Advisory Council.
In 2018 Sara was invited as an expert advisor to the Australian Workers’ Delegation on the Standard- Setting Committee on Violence & Harassment in the World of Work, 107th Session of the International Labour Conference. She has provided expert evidence to various state and federal Parliamentary committees and to the Fair Work Commission. Most recently Sara has provided expert evidence to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality & Safety, the Select Senate Committee on Job Security, the Select Senate Committee on Work & Care and the Aged Care Work Value case before the Fair Work Commission.
- Gender equality in employment
- Job quality & decent work
- Social care workforce
- Industrial and anti-discrimination law & practice
- Intersection of work & care
PhD (Legal Studies), Latrobe University
Graduate Diploma Government Law, University of Melbourne
BA (Hons), University of Melbourne
Diploma of Social Studies, University of Melbourne
2 PhD Current Supervisions3 PhD Completions