Clare BURTON BA PhD

1961 - 1963

Anthropologist, expert on gender and race bias (1942-1998)

ClaireBurtonDR CLARE BURTON, an international expert on gender and race bias, was one of Australia’s finest feminist intellectuals. She put her scholarship into action in senior public sector appointments in NSW, Queensland and Canberra.

Clare graduated in Arts from the University of Sydney with First Class Honours in Anthropology and was awarded the University medal. She spoke with great affection of her years at the Women’s College and of the important influence of the Principal, Doreen Langley, who gave her confidence in academic pursuits during difficult times. In 1974, married and with three young children, she enrolled as a full time PhD student at Macquarie University. It was at this time that she ventured into feminist groups and became active in the women’s movement.

Her doctoral thesis was published in 1995 in an acclaimed text Subordination Feminism and Social Theory – a history of ideas developed in the socialist feminist tradition during the 1970s. Clare’s purpose was to draw together strands of though and debate often kept separate.

Clare’s leadership in the equal pay debate in the 1980s and 1990s moved the struggle firmly onto the Industrial Relations agenda. She was principal author of Women’s Worth: Pay Equity and Job Evaluation published in 1987 which put the issue of women’s economic worth under review in an unprecedented way and set the foundations for future work in this area.

In 1989, Clare was appointed Head of the NSW Equal Opportunity and Public Employment Office – where she proved to be innovative and bold, fearless and determined.

Her best-known book The Promise and the Price (1991) presented a realistic assessment of equal employment opportunity programs.

Women’s College Journal, 1999

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