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

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 in the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

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 differences in economic opportunities and outcomes, encompassing such issues as the gender pay gap, women’s under-representation in leadership, and the influence of personality traits and societal norms. Her areas of expertise extend to labour economics, economic psychology, demographic economics, education, 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 and applying a ‘gender lens’ to economic analysis and policy design.

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)

Current 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 University
National Chair, Women in Economics Network (WEN)
Central Council Member, Economic Society of Australia (ESA)
National Economic Panel, Economic Society of Australia (ESA)
Affiliate, ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course (LCC)
Member, National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW)
Member, Gender Equity Victoria (GenVic)

RECENT contributions

Eight evidence-based ways to boost gender equality
People Analytics and Future of Work (PAFOW) Virtual Conference
Pursuing gender equality in the workforce – What does the research say? And what gets in the way?
‘How can economics contribute to the pursuit of gender equity?’
Australian Gender Economics Workshop Policy Symposium 2019, joined by Lisa Annese (Diversity Council Australia), Trish Bergin (Australian Government Office for Women), Hon. Dr Andrew Leigh MP (Shadow Assistant Treasurer) and Professor Helen Hodgson (Curtin University; National Foundation for Australian Women)