Leonora Risse

Leonora Risse

Lecturer in Economics, School of Economics, Finance and Marketing at RMIT University, Australia
WAPPP Fellow
Leonora Risse

Leonora’s is an applied economist whose research explores the mechanisms that give rise to gender differentials in the workplace. She focuses on the way that personality traits, attitudes and adherence to societal norms can explain gender gaps in workforce outcomes and opportunities, and how this knowledge can be effectively communicated to businesses to activate change.


Leonora Risse is a Lecturer in Economics in the School of Economics, Finance and Marketing at RMIT University, Australia. She earned her PhD in Economics, Bachelor in Economics (Hons I) and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Queensland. Leonora gained public policy experience in her appointment as a Senior Research Economist with the Australian Government’s Productivity Commission, focusing on employment and education issues. She has been actively involved in establishing the Women in Economics Network (WEN) in Australia, currently serving as the National Chair, and is an affiliate of the Global Labor Organisation, the Life Course Centre, Gender Equity Victoria, and the National Foundation for Australian Women. Using real-world large-scale datasets, Leonora’s research has explored drivers of women’s labour force participation, the provision of paid maternity leave as a workplace entitlement, the impact of the Australian baby bonus payment on women’s childbearing intentions, and the role of psychological factors – such as financial self-efficacy, confidence and other personality traits – in explaining gender gaps in pay, promotion and other economic outcomes. She also has published in the fields of health, wellbeing and disadvantage. Leonora’s current research investigates how gender differentials in career outcomes are linked to differences in the way that men’s and women’s personality traits are valued in the workplace, and how personality-based stereotypes and adherence to traditional attitudes can act as implicit biases that curtail women’s economic opportunities. Supporting the activities of the Women in Economics Network, her current projects also focus on understanding the economic evidence base behind gender equality and diversity initiatives.

Research Topic

Gender gaps in workforce outcomes and opportunities.