Margaret Alston

Emeritus Prof


Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research interests

Gender, climate and environmental disasters, rural women, social work.


Margaret Alston is Professor of Social Work and Head of Department at Monash University.  At Monash University she has established the Gender, Leadership and Social Sustainability (GLASS) research unit which has attracted an extensive number of PhD students. Previously she was at Charles Sturt University for 21 years, most recently as Professor of Social Work.


In 2010 she was awarded an Order of Australia for her services to social work and to rural women.


She is a past-Chair of the Australian Heads of Schools of Social Work (ACHSSW) and was appointed a Foundation Fellow of the Australian College of Social Work in 2011. She is currently CI on an ARC project on social sustainability in the Murray-Darling Basin area and on the ARC Invisible Farmer project with the Victorian Museum to develop awareness of rural women’s contribution to Australian society.  


She has completed projects on gender and climate change in Bangladesh with Oxfam; with UNESCO in the Pacific in 2010; with ACIAR in Laos; and was engaged as a UN gender expert by the Gender Division of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) studying gender and climate change in India for 2008. She has been a resident gender expert at the FAO’s offices in Rome in 2009, 2007 and 2003. In 2009 she was also appointed as a UN gender expert by UN-Habitat to advise on the detailed report on the impact of climate change on global cities. Most recently (2012-13) she worked as a gender expert for UNEP in Geneva training field staff on gender sensitive practice.


She has given a number of keynote presentations including the Inaugural Sidney Myer lecture in Adelaide in 2012, and the 2014 International Social Work and Social Policy conference and the National Climate conference in Adelaide in July 2016. She will be giving a keynote presentation at the International Social Work conference in Dublin in 2018.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions