Marian Sawer


Marian Sawer



Marian Sawer is a feminist scientist with a long standing engagement with public policy and the structures of government.  She owes much to the Women's Electoral Lobby, which taught her a great deal about politics. 

She was founder of the women's caucus of the Australian Political Studies Association and of the Association of Women Employees at the ANU, where she prepared a wide-ranging equal opportunity program.  She also prepared a pioneering equal opportunity plan for the Dept of Foreign Affairs and the portfolio contribution to early women's budget statements.  She made a major contribution to ACT anti-discrimination legislation and to strengthening the Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act, particularly its indirect discrimination provisions. 

She wrote the first book explaining the kind of  structures Australian femocrats had developed to apply a gender lens to policy (.Sisters in Suits) and has continued to analyse the fate of these structures ever since, along with her wonderful PhD students.  She has published very widely on gender, politics, and policy and strengthened feminist institution-building in organisations such as the Australian Political Studies Association, of which she was President  and the International Political Science association of which she was vice-president.  She has created  international research networks like GenParlNet and chaired international research committees. 

As director  of the Democratic Audit of Australia and subsequently, she has been engaged in a seemingly endless struggle to reform Australia's political finance regime.



'I took great delight in painting Marian.  I have set her towards the back of the canvas.  I think I captured that slightly aloof imperious observing air she sometimes wears.  You can almost see her taking notes for chronicling later, and just a little bit of humour at the back of her eyes.'