Global inequality and labour rights

This cluster explores how inequality shapes labour rights in the past and present. Our researchers investigate how conceptions of ethnicity, class, age, and gender produce ingrained inequality within different labour contexts.

We seek to document the experiences of migrant and local workers engaged in labour ranging from domestic work and reproductive labour to agriculture and industry. Our aim is to analyse and contribute to UOW research on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs specifically relating to SDG 8 on ‘Decent Work’ and SDG 10 on ‘Reduced Inequalities.’ A focus on slavery, forced or coerced labour, child labour, reproductive labour and labour migration underpin this research theme. We are interested in the role of the UN and the ILO in challenging oppressive labour regimes, and how workers themselves assert their labour rights.

Victoria Haskins, Claire Lowrie and Swapna Banerjee, Ayahs and Amahs:

Transcolonial Servants in Australia and Britain 1780-1945, ARC Discovery Project, 2020-2023 (DP200100375).

Vera Mackie

Engendering Hope: Youth and the Sustainable Development Goals, Humanities Research Centre Visiting Fellowship Project, Australian National University, 2021.

Vera Mackie

Fostering Women’s Leadership through Educational Exchange, 1930–1980, ARC Linkage Project, La Trobe, UOW and Australian-American Fulbright Commission [with Diane Kirkby, Tanya Fitzgerald and Tangerine Holt]

This project explores the implications of experiences of international exchange for the development of women's leadership capacities in selected countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

Nicola Marks and Vera Mackie

Sustainable Development, Reproductive Labour and Mobility across the Asia Pacific Region.

Vera Mackie, Nicola Marks and Sarah Ferber

Australian Research Council Discovery Grant ‘IVF and Assisted Reproductive Technologies: The Global Experience.’

This project has resulted in a co-edited collection, a co-authored monograph and several articles and book chapters exploring the global history of in vitro fertilisation and assisted reproduction from 1978 to the present.

Julia T. Martínez, Claire Lowrie and Gregor Benton (Cardiff)

Chinese indentured labour in the colonial Asia Pacific region, 1919–1966, Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Project, 2018-2021 (DP180100695).

Vera Mackie Global Challenges Projects

Microfinance and Women’s Empowement: Bringing Transformations through Dialogic Accounting (Tanima et al.);

Sustainable Development Goal actions at a local level: (Gibbons et aL);

Australia and the Sustainable Development Goals (Mackie et al.)

These are a series of collaborative linked projects exploring the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals with a focus on selected countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

Vera Mackie Humanities Research Centre (ANU) Fellowship

Engendering Hope: Youth and the Gendering of Development Discourse

In 2022 I will take up a fellowship at the Humanities Research Centre at the Australian National University to explore the United Nations Sustainable Development goals with a particular focus on youth and gender.

Julia T. Martinez Networks and narratives 

Traffic in women and girls in the Asia Pacific region, 1865-1940. ARC Future Fellow, ($575, 581) 2013-2017

I am writing on the international abolitionist movement against trafficking in Southeast Asia and Australia, with an emphasis on the restrictions placed on women's immigration and employment as the colonial powers and the League of Nations sought to suppress the colonial sex industry.

Julia T. Martinez

Chinese Women in Australia history (with Dr Kate Bagnall, UTAS)

I am working with Dr Kate Bagnall on a history of Chinese women in Australian history before 1950, with particular interest in the careers and education of women.

Julia T. Martinez

Labour and social history of the Asia Pacific pearling industry, 1860-1960. Following on from ARC DP0771117, (2007-9) with Prof. Adrian Vickers (USYD)

I am continuing to investigate the employment of Indigenous, Pacific Islander and Asian workers in the pearling industry.