• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: AWE0140

Burton, Clare

(1942 – 1998)
  • Nationality Australian
  • Born 30 October, 1942, Australia
  • Died 23 August, 1998, Canberra Australian Capital Territory
  • Occupation Academic, Consultant, Public servant, Researcher, Writer


Dr Clare Burton was a strong advocate and activist for social change, particularly in the area of equal pay for women. Her academic research fed into policy and practical change in the workplace.


Clare Burton was raised in Canberra, where her Methodist upbringing may have instilled in her the tireless work ethic she displayed in her efforts to bring about social change, promoting greater equity and justice for all.

Burton graduated from the University of Sydney with a university medal and first class honours in anthropology in 1963. She married Peter Krinks and the pair had three children: Rachel, Stephen and Kate. She completed her PhD at Macquarie University in 1979, exploring theoretical explanations for women’s subordination, and began her academic career at Kuring-gai College of Advanced Education (later University of Technology, Sydney), where she became an Associate Professor.

Burton was awarded the Australasian Political Studies Association Women and Politics Prize in 1984 for her essay ‘Public and Private Concerns in Academic Institutions’. Her monograph Redefining Merit became an essential companion text for practitioners of employment equity. Major publications include The Promise and the Price: the struggle for equal opportunity in women’s employment (1991), Subordination, Feminism and Social Theory (1985) and Women’s Worth : pay equity and job evaluation in Australia (1987).

In 1989 Burton became the New South Wales government’s Director of Equal Opportunity in Public Employment, and in 1992 served as the Commissioner for Public Sector Equity in the Queensland Goss government. In 1993, she chose to work independently as a researcher and consultant in employment equity, being much in demand as a consultant, adviser, and speaker. In the 1990s Burton conducted about a dozen university equity reviews as well as reviewing both the Australian and New Zealand Defence Forces. She was a dedicated member of the Women’s Electoral Lobby (WEL) and worked on WEL submissions on the 1997 Federal Public Service Bill and the 1998 review of the Affirmative Action Agency. She also convened WEL policy groups.

Burton was a member of the Network of Women in Further Education, the Black Women’s Action in Education Foundation, the National Foundation for Australian Women, the Australian Political Science Association, the Australian Sociological Association and the Institute of Public Administration Australia, and was a founding member of the National Pay Equity Coalition.

The Australian Technology Network, with Clare’s friends, colleagues and family has established the Clare Burton Memorial Fund to commemorate her life and continue her work by providing a scholarship in Dr Burton’s specialist field.


Published resources

  • Book
    • The Promise and the Price: The Struggle for Equal Opportunity in Women's Employment, Clare Burton, 1991
    • Subordination, feminism and social theory, Clare Burton, 1985
    • Women's worth : pay equity and job evaluation in Australia, Clare Burton, Raven Hag, Gay Thompson., 1987
    • Enterprising nation : renewing Australia's managers to meet the challenges of the Asia-Pacific century : managing for diversity, Clare Burton and Carolyn Ryall, 1995
  • Report
    • Redesigning women's work : a case study in the community sector, Clare Burton, 1995
    • Gender equity in Australian university staffing, Clare Burton, 1997
    • The beauty therapist, the mechanic, the geoscientist and the librarian : addressing undervaluation of women's work, Rosemary Hunter, 2000
  • Monograph
    • Redefining merit, Clare Burton, 1988
    • Gender bias in job evaluation, Clare Burton, 1988
  • Issues paper
    • Equity principles in competency standards : development and implementation, Clare Burton, 1994
  • Book Section
    • Merit, gender and corporate governance, Clare Burton, 1999
  • Resource
  • Newspaper Article
    • Face to face: the power of sisterhood, Jane Cadzow, 1987?
    • The Burton girls, Marion Frith, 1994
    • Feminist put equality on agenda, 1998
  • Resource Section
  • Site Exhibition

Archival resources

  • National Library of Australia, Manuscript Collection
    • Papers of Clare Burton, 1987-1997 [manuscript]
  • National Library of Australia
    • [Biographical cuttings on Clare Burton, public servant, containing one or more cuttings from newspapers or journals]

Related entries

  • Membership
    • National Foundation for Australian Women (1989 - )
    • Women's Electoral Lobby Australia (1972 - )
  • Sister
    • Edwards, Meredith Ann (1941 - )
    • Burton, Pamela Melrose (1946 - )
  • Related Events
    • The Clare Burton Memorial Lectures
    • Clare Burton Award
    • Clare Burton Memorial Scholarship (2002 - )
  • Founded
    • National Pay Equity Coalition
  • Foundation Member
    • National Pay Equity Coalition