Centre Achievements

Life Course Centre Director awarded Australian Laureate Fellowship to get gender equality back on track

4 July 2023

Professor Janeen Baxter has been announced as one of 17 new Australian Laureate Fellowships, who together will receive a total of $53.9 million in Australian Research Council funding over five years to conduct ground-breaking research.

Professor Baxter’s Australian Laureate Fellowships will investigate a new approach to caregiving and social relationships in the home to progress gender equality, safeguarding the potential of all Australians in the workplace. She is also the recipient of the Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellowship, which supports researchers in the humanities, arts and social science disciplines.

Announcing the fellowships, ARC Chief Executive Officer, Ms Judi Zielke PSM, said the Australian Laureate Fellowship scheme is fundamental to providing an excellent research training environment, exemplary mentorship to nurture early-career researchers, and conducting research for the benefit of the Australian and international communities.

“The Laureate Fellowship scheme affords researchers the opportunity to establish strong connections with research counterparts and industry partners, which is an integral part of delivering high-quality mentorship for up-and-coming early-career researchers,” Ms Zielke said.

A New Gender Agenda

Professor Baxter’s Australian Laureate Fellowship, entitled ‘Bringing Equality Home: A New Gender Agenda’ receive $3.4 million in ARC funding over five years.

Compared to other countries, Australia has slipped backwards in achieving gender equality and is in danger of falling further behind. This jeopardises opportunities for all Australians and undermines social cohesion and economic progress.

“This project aims to provide the theoretical and empirical foundations to reverse this trend. The expected outcomes will be a new theory of gender inequality, a new approach that foregrounds the explanatory importance of caregiving and domestic work and new insights into the life course stages where gender inequality is most malleable,” Professor Baxter said.

“This will provide significant benefits including the impetus for new research, policy initiatives and capacity to build a more equal, stronger and prosperous Australia.”

Professor Baxter’s research interests span gender inequality, family dynamics, social disadvantage and life course and longitudinal studies and she has published widely in these areas and supervised the research of numerous higher degree students and research fellows.

She has been the Director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course (Life Course Centre) since it was established in 2014.

Administered by The University of Queensland’s Institute for Social Science Research, the Life Course Centre is a collaboration of university, government and community partners investigating the critical factors underlying deep and persistent disadvantage to provide new knowledge and solutions for policy, service providers and communities.

At the time of securing its initial grant in 2014, the Life Course Centre was only the second seven-year social science Centre of Excellence to be funded by the ARC. It was then the only ARC Centre of Excellence from 2014 to again secure funding for a further seven-year period in the 2020 round.


Matthew MacDermott