Dr Leonora Risse is an economist who specialises in gender equality.

She is a Research Fellow with the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia, and recently spent time in residence at Harvard University as a Research Fellow with the Women and Public Policy Program.

Leonora is a co-founder of the Women in Economics Network (WEN) in Australia and currently serves as the WEN National Chair.

Leonora earned her PhD in Economics from the University of Queensland, and previously served as a Senior Research Economist for the Australian Government Productivity Commission. She is currently appointed as a Senior Lecturer in Economics at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia.

Leonora’s research focuses on understanding gender gaps in economic opportunities and outcomes, including the gender pay gap, women’s under-representation in leadership, and the influence of societal norms. Her areas of expertise extend to labour economics, demographic economics, economic psychology, disadvantage and wellbeing.

She engages regularly with public audiences, government, industry and community groups on gender equality issues. This includes identifying evidence-based strategies to close gender gaps, applying a ‘gender lens’ to economic analysis and policy design, and navigating resistance to change.

Leonora was named among Apolitical’s 100 Most Influential People in Gender Policy in 2021.


PhD in Economics, University of Queensland (2008)
Bachelor of Economics (Honours Class I), University of Queensland (2002)
Bachelor of Arts (Majors in English and Journalism), University of Queensland (2001)

appointments & affiliations

Senior Lecturer in Economics, RMIT University
Research Fellow, Women’s Leadership Institute Australia (WLIA)
Research Fellow, Women and Public Policy Program (WAPPP), Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
National Chair, Women in Economics Network (WEN)
Central Council Member and National Economic Panel, Economic Society of Australia (ESA)
Board Member, Gender Equity Victoria (GenVic)
Associate Investigator, ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course (LCC)
Social Policy Committee, National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW)