Sharon Bessell's picture

Sharon Bessell

Professor, Policy and Governance; Director of Gender Equity and Diversity


BA (Hons 1st class, Tasmania), PhD (Monash) Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy

Contact details

Sharon Bessell is Professor at the Crawford School of Public Policy, where she is Director of Gender Equity and Diversity and heads the Children’s Policy Centre. Sharon also co-leads the ANU Individual Deprivation Measure (IDM) Program (with Associate Professor Janet Hunt), which is a partnership between ANU, the International Women’s Development Agency and the Australian Government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). In 2019 she was named as one of the Australian Financial Review’s Women of Influence.

Sharon’s research interests revolve around issues of social justice and human rights, and focus on two broad areas. The first is social policy, social justice and the human rights of children, particularly children’s participation and citizenship, quality education, child labour, child protection, and support for children without parental care. Important aspects of her research are child inclusive policy and the ways in which policies respond to the issues children identify as priorities. The second area of Sharon’s work is the gendered and generational dimensions of poverty. Sharon has a keen interest in research methodology, and has published widely on undertaking research with children.

Sharon has undertaken research across a number of geographic regions, including Australia, Southeast Asia (particularly Indonesia and the Philippines), the Pacific (particularly Fiji) and Southern Africa. She has worked with government, non-government and international agencies in Australia, Asia and the Pacific.

Sharon is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and in 2016 received The ANU College of Asia and the Pacific Award for Teaching Excellence.

Sharon is a co-presenter of Policy Forum Pod.


Sharon’s teaching revolves around issues of social and development policy, with a focus on the global context. She currently teaches two courses, both at Master level: Development Theories and Themes POGO8072 Global Social Policy POGO8044 (co-taught with Professor Adrian Kay)

Past courses: - Gender and Policy POGO 8061 - Children and Social Policy POGO 8898 - Community and Social Policy POGO8099 (co-taught with Dr Ann Nevile) - Policy and Social Capital POGO8094 (co-taught with Dr Ann Nevile)

Updated:  28 October 2021/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team