Gender, Breastfeeding and Work

Investigating social determinants of breastfeeding for Australian working families

Degree type


Closing date

27 March 2023



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

This research will investigate the experiences of Tasmanian working families as they become parents and combine the demands of employment, caring, and breastfeeding/infant feeding. Using high-quality national longitudinal quantitative and qualitative data this project will generate new knowledge about the factors associated with and strategies parents (mothers/fathers/same-sex partners) use to maintain breastfeeding while participating in the paid workforce. In combination, this much-needed research will support a gender equitable return to work for all Australian families and contribute to the Australian Government's Action areas to reduce the gender gap and increase women's participation in the workplace and career progression after childbirth.

The successful applicant will work with Dr Ayton and Dr Hansen to refine the scope of the project, make decisions about study design, and select an appropriate overarching theoretical framework. This PhD project will develop and extend the team's research expertise/ theme of family health and public health, build new knowledge producing original empirical findings with the potential to guide future policies and interventions aimed at improving equitable reproductive and maternal health for Tasmania.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Jennifer Ayton


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $31,500 per annum (2023 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • First Class honors
  • Master's in sociology, social sciences, research, medicine, public health

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Master's in public health, sociology, social sciences, medicine/research

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Undergraduate degree in sociology or social sciences

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Dr Jennifer Ayton to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. Submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application, you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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