Examining sexism in the legal workplace as a barrier to career advancement and a driver of the exodus of women from the profession

Closing Date

31st October 2020

Applicants should contact the primary supervisor, and submit their Expression of Interest (EOI) and Application as soon as possible.

The Research Project

In June 2020 it was reported in the media that an inquiry by the High Court of Australia had found that former High Court Justice Dyson Heydon had sexually harassed six female associates. The news was met with surprise and disbelief by some but for others, it was long overdue public acknowledgment of high levels of sexual harassment, assault and exploitation within the legal profession. In the wake of the report a group of 500 women working in various areas of the law signed letters to the Commonwealth Attorney-General, Christian Porter, and the Chief Justice of the High Court, Justice Susan Kiefel urging the establishment of an independent complaints body and the introduction of a transparent appointments process for the judiciary.  The immediate concern of this group of legal women was reforms to ensure judicial accountability. But the report raised serious questions about institutionalised sexism more broadly within the legal profession.

This research will examine this question by means of empirical research into experiences of sexism within the legal profession. It will consider questions such as the adequacy of existing legal avenues for redress, including those provided by anti-discrimination law and employment law, barriers to reporting and proposals for reform.


See the following web page for entry requirements: www.utas.edu.au/research/degrees/what-is-a-research-degree

Application Process

Applicants who require more information or are interested in this specific project should first contact the listed Supervisor. Information and guidance on the application process can be found on the Apply Now website.

Information about scholarships is available on the Scholarships webpage.

More Information

Please contact, Dr Helen Cockburn for further information.