Dr Leonora Risse is an economist with interest and expertise in gender equality, labour economics, economic psychology, demographic and population economics, education, disadvantage and wellbeing.

Her research focuses on understanding gender differences in economic opportunities and outcomes. This includes understanding the gender pay gap, women’s participation in the workforce, women’s under-representation in leadership, and the role of attitudes, personality traits and societal norms.

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

Leonora is a Research Fellow with the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia (WLIA) and spent time in residence at Harvard University as a Research Fellow with the Women and Public Policy Program (WAPPP) in the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She is currently appointed as a Senior Lecturer in Economics at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia.

Leonora has been actively involved in establishing the Women in Economics Network (WEN) in Australia, and engages regularly with public audiences, government, industry and community groups on gender equality issues, including identifying evidence-based strategies 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)