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
- Cortis, N.,Blaxland, M.,Charlesworth, S. (2023). Care theft: Family impacts of employer control in Australia’s retail industry In: Critical Social Policy, , 1 - 23
- Charlesworth, S.,Macdonald, F. (2023). Collective bargaining and low-paid women workers: The promise of supported bargaining In: Journal of Industrial Relations, , 1 - 16
- Baines, D.,Dulhunty, A.,Charlesworth, S. (2022). Relationship-Based Care Work, Austerity and Aged Care In: Work Employment and Society, 36, 139 - 155
- Peetz, D.,Baird, M.,Charlesworth, S.,Weststar, J., et al, . (2022). Sustained knowledge work and thinking time amongst academics: gender and working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic In: Labour & Industry, 32, 72 - 92
- Charlesworth, S.,Malone, J. (2022). The Production of Employment Conditions for Migrant Care Workers: Cross National Perspectives In: Social Policy and Society, , 1 - 14
- Peetz, D.,O’Brady, S.,Weststar, J.,Charlesworth, S., et al, . (2022). Control and Insecurity in Australian and Canadian Universities during the COVID-19 Pandemic In: Relations industrielles / Industrial Relations, 77, 1 - 21
- Ågotnes, G.,Charlesworth, S.,MacDonald, M. (2022). Ageing in Space: Remaking Community for Older Adults In: Anthropology and Aging, 43, 40 - 57
- Macdonald, F.,Charlesworth, S. (2021). Regulating for gender-equitable decent work in social and community services: Bringing the state back in In: Journal of Industrial Relations, 63, 477 - 500
- Charlesworth, S. (2021). Women, work, care and COVID In: College of Business & Law, RMIT University Melbourne, Australia
- Cortis, N.,Blaxland, M.,Charlesworth, S. (2021). Challenges of work, family and care for Australia’s retail, online retail, warehousing and fast food workers In: SDA Sydney
- Job quality and care quality in aged care: comparative perspectives. Funded by: 010-ARC Discovery Projects 2017 from (2017 to 2022)
- Markets, migration and the work of care in Australia. Administered by The University of New South Wales.. Funded by: ARC Discovery Projects 2016 from (2016 to 2019)
- Prospects for Decent Work and Gender Equality in Frontline Care Work. Funded by: ARC Future Fellowships Grant pre-2014 from (2012 to 2017)
- From Margins to Mainstream: Gender Equality and Employment Regulation. Funded by: ARC Discovery 2011 from (2011 to 2015)
- The Intersection of Gender Equality and Decent Work in the Netherlands. Funded by: Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia Grant pre-2014 from (2010 to 2010)