Prof. Leah Ruppanner
Prof. Leah Ruppanner - Founder

Prof. Leah Ruppanner is a Professor of Sociology and Founding Director of The Future of Work Lab at the University of Melbourne, and was previously a Director of The Policy Lab at the University of Melbourne.

Her research investigates gender and its intersection to inequalities, technologies and policies. She is a leading expert on COVID-19 and its impact on gender inequality in US and Australia. She is also leading a project on gender bias in hiring algorithms to understand how gender bias limits women's access to employment. Ruppanner's research is published in varied prestigious publishers, including Demography, Journal of Marriage and Family, Sociological Methods and Research, European Sociological Review and Social Science Research. She also has expansive media coverage in the New York Times, Washington Post and the Guardian and external grant success including the ARC DECRA, an ARC Discovery on sleep and an ARC Linkage on women in local government.

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Sophie Squires
Sophie Squires - Research Coordinator

Sophie Squires is a Research Coordinator at the Future of Work Lab, The University of Melbourne. She is an anthropologist with a Master of Social Policy, and has an interest in systemic inequality, gender and technological disruption. She works across various social and gender equity projects, including evaluating equal opportunity policies of local governments, the mental load, technology education for youth and researching systemic barriers to women’s representation in public life.


Mira Gunawansa
Mira Gunawansa - Project lead

Mira Gunawansa is a researcher interested in exploring gender equity and racial literacy in the field of sustainable development. Holding a BA in Politics and International Studies and an MA in Development Studies, Mira has previously acted as a key strategist in the development of intersectional, equitable and accessible outreach programs to communities and demographics of historic marginalisation, namely: working mothers, migrant women and young women. She has also led projects that have created resources for the employment of women seeking asylum, investigated caregivers’ gender equity within the Victorian Public Sector, and assisted in the decolonising of curriculum for the Master of Social Policy at the University of Melbourne. Mira is set to begin a PhD investigating the Mental Load of Immigrant Mothers at the University of Melbourne in 2024.

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Kate Dangar
Kate Dangar - Project lead

Kate Dangar is a former Fellow at the Future of Work Lab, and holds a Master’s degree in Development Studies from the University of Melbourne. She has worked on several projects tackling the persistent problem of women’s attrition in STEM fields, from their higher education journey to early career transitions. Kate has contributed to the development of programs, research papers, and resources aimed at revitalising workforce engagement in industries that have traditionally marginalised women. This includes designed and delivering a program to assist caregivers returning to the workforce following a career break. She has also extensively contributed to research and academic publications exploring equitable caregiving practices and the unique experiences of women at work.