Why is it that in Australia today, the family in which you are born still largely determines your chances in life Families are key components in the transmission of disadvantage between generations and over the life course, and family background plays a central role in determining the adult outcomes of young people in countries like Australia with high income inequality. Social disadvantage tends to be concentrated in low income communities, is highly likely to reproduce across generations within families, and is prevalent within specific marginal social groups, including Indigenous Australians and migrants. The growing divide between high and low income earners is the top risk facing Australia and many other nations over the next ten years (World Economic Forum 2012), making the lottery of one’s birth a crucial factor determining disadvantage and the key locus of reversing social inequality for the benefit of future generations.

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 Professor Mark Western
Professor Mark Western

Mark Western is the Director of the Institute for Social Science Research at The University of Queensland, and a Program Leader in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course (the Life Course Centre). As a sociologist, Mark is examining how systems of inequality and disadvantage arise and can be addressed; what matters for economic and social well-being; and how institutions like schools, families, networks and labour markets are involved in these processes. Professor Western has been involved in numerous leadership initiatives for the social sciences in Australia, including the 2014 Research Engagement for Australia report on metrics for university and industry research engagement (with the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering). He studied social science at The University of Queensland, is a Fellow of the of Social Sciences in Australia, and has edited and authored 6 books, and 100 book chapters, journal articles and commissioned reports.

 Professor Janeen Baxter
Professor Janeen Baxter

Janeen Baxter is a sociologist with research interests in families, gender inequality, paid and unpaid work, and wellbeing, as well as cross-national, life-course and longitudinal research. An innovator in life-course theory, she initiated the Negotiating The Life Course project which was one of the first studies in Australia to collect comprehensive longitudinal data on relationship and employment histories. This paved the way for the development and funding of later large-scale panel studies by the Australian Government, including the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey. Her most recent research work focused on the effect life-course events and life- course pathways have on various individual and family outcomes. These included time spent in paid and unpaid work, gender role attitudes, relationship satisfaction, life satisfaction and earnings. Prior to establishing the Life Course Centre, Janeen has been involved in several ARC Linkage projects, including projects investigating cohabitation, divorce, mothers’ workforce engagement and paid parental leave, and educational outcomes for disadvantaged young people. Janeen was a member of the HILDA Survey Expert Reference Group from 2000 to 2012, and has used the HILDA survey extensively in her research. She was a member of the ARC College of Experts from 2012-14. Her current research plans for the Life Course Centre focus broadly on the associations between family dynamics and relationship pathways and movement into and out of disadvantage. She is particularly interested in gender differences in these patterns and is also interested in developing research about children’s outcomes in relation to parental relationship pathways and transitions.


About Global Leadership Series

The Global Leadership Series (GLS) is a lively program of events for alumni and community members. Join us for lectures and discussions with the best of the best UQ-related speakers on matters that impact your community and shape your ideas of the world.

The series is an opportunity for you to engage with great minds on global matters, participate in thought-provoking discussions and network with UQ alumni and community members. All alumni, parents, community members and friends are welcome to attend the Global Leadership Series events.

Listen to podcasts of previous GLS events click here

$25.00 per person


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