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Negotiating the Life Course
School of Demography
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
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Negotiating the Life Course is a longitudinal study undertaken by the Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute (now School of Demography), Australian National University and the School of Social Science, University of Queensland.

The Negotiating the Life Course Project is designed to study the changing life courses and decision-making processes of Australian men and women as the family and society move from male breadwinner orientation in the direction of higher levels of gender equity.

The project has six aims:

  • to extend the theories of human capital and new home economics in explaining women's and men's labour force participation;

  • to map women's and men's work trajectories over their life course, from career entry into retirement, and to develop explanatory models of career trajectories;

  • to identify those aspects of the family-household system and the labour market that facilitate or impede women's involvement with the labour market;

  • to investigate the interrelationships between labour force decisions about family formation and household arrangements;

  • to identify the portfolio of resources that women and men draw upon throughout their lives when making decisions about career and family;

  • and to assess the policy implications of the findings of the project for the institutions of the welfare state, the labour market and the family.



Participant Website
A new website has been launched by the Negotiating the Life Course research team. The new site has been designed for participants and can be found at

The NLC Project Team would like to acknowledge the following:

  • Wave 1 1997 Funded by the Research School of Social Sciences, ANU
  • Wave 2 2000 Funded by the Australian Research Council (A7990570)
  • Wave 3 2003 Funded by the Australian Research Council (DP0208305)
  • Wave 4 2006 Funded by the Australian Research Council (DP0663459)
  • Wave 5 2009 Funded by the Australian Research Council (DP0987834)

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We would like to express our appreciation to all of the survey participants who have generously shared their time and their life experiences.


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