Professor Gabrielle Meagher

BEc(SocSci)Hons(Sydney), PhD(Sydney)

Honorary Professor


Phone: +61 2  9351

Fax: +61 2 9351 2606

Building.Room: A35.

Research interests

Social structures, inequalities and social justice

  • Gender relations and gender identity

Social work and social policy

  • Ageing and end-of-life
  • Social policy


care work, marketisation, elder care, comparative social policy, public opinion on inequality and the welfare state

Professional biography

Gabrielle trained as a political economist, and her current interdisciplinary research program explores the impact of privatisation and personalisation on the way social care services are practised (by social service workers), organised (within and between different kinds of social service agencies), distributed (between social groups),  experienced (by service users) and understood (by broader publics).

Since 2005, her research on these questions has expanded to include research on Sweden, where she has a joint appointment at the Department of Social Work at Stockholm University. She is a member of the team on the research program, 'Individualised care and universal welfare: Dilemmas in an era of marketisation', and on the research project ‘Child welfare as market – on the shaping of the supply side of residential care’, both funded by the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare. She was co-convenor of the Nordic Research Network on Marketisation in Eldercare from 2011–2016.


Gabrielle is keenly interested in the development of the social sciences in Australia and works in various ways to help bridge the worlds of research and social/policy action. (For some examples, see 'Reports' below.) She was Editor of the Australian Review of Public Affairs (2001–2016), and co-editor of the Australian Journal of Social Issues (2010–2013).

In July 2015, she took up a position as Professor in the Department of Sociology at Macquarie University.

Gabrielle's  doctoral students have included Dr Natasha Cortis, Dr Christina Ho, Dr Ben Spies-Butcher, Dr Toby Fattore and Dr John Girdwood.


  • Norman Smith Research Award for best research article in Australian Social Work 2007 (won jointly with Professor Karen Healy)

  • Norman Smith Research Award for best research article in Australian Social Work 2012 (won jointly with Dr Natasha Cortis)

Professional and community roles

Current projects

  • The Equal Remuneration Case 2009-2012: strategy and outcome from the perspective of participants(with Dr Natasha Cortis)
  • A comparative study of the work and working conditions of home care workers in Australia and Sweden (with Associate Professor Jane Mears and Professor Marta Szebehely)
  • The role of market ideas and organisations in social service provision in Australia and Sweden (with Professor Marta Szebehely)

Selected publications


Book chapters

  • Meagher, G. & Goodwin, S. (2015). Introduction: Capturing marketization in Australian social policy. In G. Meagher & S. Goodwin (Ed.), Markets, rights and power in Australian social policy (pp. 1–27), Sydney: Sydney University Press.
  • Meagher, G. & Wilson, S. . (2015). The politics of market encroachment: Policymaker rationales and voter responses. In G. Meagher & S. Goodwin (Ed.), Markets, rights and power in Australian social policy (pp. 29–96), Sydney: Sydney University Press.
  • Meagher, G. (2014). Persistent inequalities: The distribution of money, time and care. In S. K. Schroeder & L. Chester (Ed.), Challenging the Orthodoxy: Reflections on Frank Stilwell's Contribution to Political Economy (pp. 79–100), Berlin: Springer.
  • Meagher, G and Szebehely, M. (2013). Long-term care in Sweden: trends, actors, and consequences . In Ranci, C and Pavolini, E (Eds.), Reforms in Long-Term Care Policies in Europe: Investigating Institutional Change and Social Impacts (pp. 55–78), New York: Springer.
  • Meagher, G. and Szebehely, M. (2012). Equality in the social service state: Nordic childcare models in comparative perspective . In Jon Kvist, Johan Fritzell, Bjorn Hvinden and Olli Kangas (Eds.), Changing social equality: The Nordic welfare model in the 21st century Bristol: Policy Press.
  • Wilson, S, Meagher, G and Hermes, K. (2012). A new role for government? Trends in social policy preferences since the mid-1980s. In Pietsch, J, Aarons, H (Ed.), Australia: Identity, Fear and Governance in the 21st Century Canberra: ANU E-press.
  • Meagher, G, Cortis, N and Healy, K. (2009). Strategic challenges in child welfare services: a comparative study of Australia, England and Sweden. In Rummery, K, Greener, I and Holden, C (Eds.), Social Policy Review 21: Analysis and Debate in Social Policy Bristol: The Policy Press.
  • Meagher, G and Cortis, N. (2009). The political economy of for-profit paid care: theory and evidence. In King, D and Meagher, G. (Eds.), Paid Care in Australia: Politics, Profits, Practices Sydney: Sydney University Press.
  • Meagher, G, Wilson, S. (2007). Are Unions Regaining Popular Legitimacy in Australia?. In Denemark, D., Meagher, G., Wilson, S., & Western, M., Phillips, T (Ed.), Australian social attitudes 2 : citizenship, work and aspirations (pp. 195–216), Sydney: UNSW Press.
  • Wilson, S, Meagher, G. (2007). Howard's Welfare State: How Popular is the New Social Policy Agenda. In Denemark, D., Meagher, G., Wilson, S., & Western, M., Phillips, T (Ed.), Australian Social Attitudes 2 : Citizenship, Work and Aspirations (pp. 262–285), Sydney: UNSW Press.
  • Meagher, G. (2007). Contested, Corporatised and Confused? Australian Attitudes to Child Care. In Elizabeth Hill, Barbara Pocock and Alison Elliott (Eds.), Kids Count: Better early childhood education and care in Australia (pp. 137–153), Sydney: Sydney University Press.
  • Wilson, S., Meagher G., & Breusch, T. . (2005). Where to for the Welfare State?. In Wilson, S., Meagher G., Gibson, R. Denemark, D. & Western, M. (Ed.), Australian Social Attitudes: The First Report, UNSW Press, 2005. Sydney: UNSW Press.
  • Marsh, I., Meagher, G. & Wilson, S. . (2005). Are Australians Open to Globalisation?. In Wilson, S., Meagher G., Gibson, R. Denemark, D. and Western, M (Eds.), Australian Social Attitudes: The First Report Sydney: UNSW Press.
  • Buchanan, J, Watson, I, Meagher, G. (2004). The Living Wage in Australia: History, Recent Developments, and Current Challenges. In Figart, D (Ed.), Living Wage Movements: Global Perspectives London: Routledge.

Journal articles

  • Cortis, N and Meagher, G. (2012). Recognition at last: care work and the Equal Remuneration Case. Journal of Industrial Relations, 54(3), 377–385.
  • Wilson, S, Meagher, G, Hermes, K. (2012). The social division of welfare knowledge: Policy stratification and perceptions of welfare reform in Australia . Policy and Politics, 40(3), 323–346. DOI:
  • Cortis, N and Meagher, G. (2012). Social work education as preparation for practice: evidence from a survey of the New South Wales community sector . Australian Social Work, 65(3), 295–310.
  • Healy, K, Meagher, G, Cullin, J. (2009). Retaining novices to become expert child protection practitioners: creating career pathways in direct practice. British Journal of Social Work, 39(2), 299–317. DOI:doi:10.1093/bjsw/bcm125
  • Cortis, N and Meagher, G. (2009). Women, work and welfare in the activation state: an agenda for Australian research. Australian Bulletin of Labour, 35(4), 629–651.
  • Tham, P, Meagher, G. (2009). Working in human services: how do experiences and working conditions in child welfare social work compare?. British Journal of Social Work, 39(5), 807–827.
  • Meagher, G, Wilson, S. (2008). Richer, but more unequal: perceptions of inequality in Australia 1987-2005. Journal of Australian Political Economy, 61, 220–243.
  • Meagher, G. (2007). The Challenge of the Care Workforce: Recent Trends and Emerging Problems. Australian Journal of Social Issues, 42(2), 151–167.
  • Briggs, C, Meagher, G, Healy, K. (2007). Becoming an Industry: The Struggle of Social and Community Workers for Award Coverage, 1976-2001. Journal of Industrial Relations, 49(4), 497–521.
  • Healy, K, Meagher, G. (2007). Social Workers’ Preparation for Child Protection: Revisiting the Question of Specialisation. Australian Social Work, 60(3), 321–335.
  • Meagher, G. (2006). What Can We Expect from Paid Carers?. Politics and Society, 34(1), 33–54.
  • Meagher, G and Parton, N. (2004). Modernising Social Work and the Ethics of Care. Social Work and Society, 2(1), 10–27.
  • Meagher, G and Nelson, J. (2004). Survey Article: Feminism in the Dismal Science. Journal of Political Philosophy, 12(1), 102–126. DOI:10.1111/j.1467-9760.2004.00193.x
  • Healy, K, Meagher, G. (2004). The Reprofessionalization of Social Work: Collaborative Approaches for Achieving Professional Recognition. British Journal of Social Work, 34(2), 243–260.
  • Meagher, G, Healy, K. (2003). Caring, controlling, contracting and counting: Governments and non-profits in community services. Australian Journal of Public Administration, 62(3), 40–51.
  • Meagher, G and Wilson, S. (2002). Complexity and Practical Knowledge in the Social Sciences: A Comment on Stehr and Grundmann. British Journal of Sociology, 53(4), 659–666.
  • Meagher, G. (2002). Is it Wrong to Pay for Housework?. Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, 17(2), 52–66.
  • Meagher, G. (2000). A Struggle for Recognition: Strategies for Work Life Reform in the Domestic Services Industry. Economic and Industrial Democracy, 21(1), 9–37.
  • Bittman, M, Matheson, G and Meagher, G . (1999). The Changing Boundary Between Home and Market: Australian Trends in Outsourcing Domestic Labour. Work, Employment and Society, 13(2), 249–273.
  • Meagher, G. (1999). A Classroom Strategy for Teaching the Social Sciences in Women’s Studies. Women’s Studies Quarterly , 27(3&4).
  • Meagher, G. (1998). "A Woman Seldom Runs Wild After an Abstraction": Feminist Contributions to Economics. Economic Papers, 17(1).
  • Meagher, G. (1997). Recreating "Domestic Service"? Institutional Cultures and the Evolution of Paid Household Work. Feminist Economics, 3(2), 1–27.
  • Meagher, G. (1994). Evaluating Women’s Work: New South Wales Nurses and Professional Rates. Journal of Australian Political Economy, 34.