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

She is a Senior Lecturer in Economics at RMIT University and a Research Fellow with the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia. She spent time in residence at Harvard University as a Research Fellow with the Women and Public Policy Program in the Kennedy School of Government.

Leonora is a co-founder of the Women in Economics Network (WEN) in Australia and served for three years as the WEN National Chair.

Leonora earned her PhD in Economics from the University of Queensland and brings public policy experience from her time working as a Senior Research Economist for the Australian Government Productivity Commission.

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 gender norms.

She regularly engages 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’s economic expertise extends to labour economics, demographics, economic psychology, disadvantage and wellbeing. She engages regularly with the media to empower everyday audiences with a greater understanding of economic issues.

She was named as one of 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) (Recipient of University Medal)
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)
National Economic Panel, Economic Society of Australia (ESA)
Associate Investigator, ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course (LCC)
Board Member, Gender Equity Victoria (GenVic) (2021-2023)
Social Policy Committee, National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) (2020-2023)
Research Fellow, Women and Public Policy Program (WAPPP), Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (2019-2020)
National Chair, Women in Economics Network (WEN) (2020-2022)


Equal opportunities and pay for women
Presentation to Jobs and Skills Summit 🔗

Gender-responsive policymaking 🔗

Gender-responsive budgets, legislation and policy 🔗

Applying a gender lens to the budget is not about pitting women against men 🔗

A Budget for our times: Applying a gender lens
Women in Economics National Press Club Address 🔗

RBG showed the value of dissent in decision making 🔗

A gender lens on the workforce impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia 🔗

“There’s no such thing as the gender pay gap”
Addressing myths and misperceptions with facts and evidence 🔗

Leaning in: Is higher confidence the key to women’s career advancement? 🔗

Do gender gaps in confidence explain gender gaps in pay? 🔗

Navigating a path towards gender equality as a progressive journey of bias awareness 🔗

Undervalued and unseen: Australia’s COVID-19 frontline workforce 🔗

In a ‘she-cession’, we can’t rely on ‘he-covery’ policy fixes 🔗

What’s the state of gender equality in Victoria? 🔗

When work becomes a masculinity contest 🔗

Economics and gender equality: A view from within 🔗

Leadership during a crisis 🔗