Obituary: Dr. Graeme Russell

Dr. Graeme Russell died on 2nd April 2021 after a long battle with cancer. At the time of his death, he was a Flexibility and Diversity Consultant in Sydney, Australia, Research Collaborator and Knowledge Program Facilitator for the Diversity Council of Australia, and a retired Associate Professor of Organizational Psychology at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. Graeme cared deeply about the issues of gender equality, diversity and family well-being in Australia, devoting his professional life to research and practical work to promote these goals. He collaborated with scholars and practitioners throughout the world and will be sorely missed.

Graeme pioneered research on fathering, starting in the late 1970s, and his 1982 book, The changing role of fathers, remains the point of reference for research on primary caretaking fathers because it sought to place the fathers’ behavior in the context of intrafamilial and broader societal beliefs, practices, and constraints. Graeme continued to publish articles and book chapters on primary caregiving fathers, father-child relationships in childhood and adolescence, shared parenting, grandfathering, Australian fatherhood, and family policy over the succeeding decades. Because of his scholarship, researchers now recognize that men can be active parents in the move toward greater gender equality and that social attitudes and institutional policies play an essential role in constraining and facilitating parental behavior. Graeme was actively involved in organizing and disseminating outcomes from the first International Fatherhood Summit at Oxford in 2003 and was a key figure in helping the Australian government design policies to promote gender equality and work-family integration, for example, by engaging in several projects for the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, established in 2012. In 2017, he co-authored a book entitled Men make a difference – engaging men on gender equality.

For nearly four decades, Graeme was avidly involved in supporting working fathers, consulting with companies interested in promoting gender equality and work-family integration in many countries, including Australia, China, Japan and Korea. He established workshops for fathers in the workplace to help them integrate work and family demands and published several articles on the impact of workplace practices on father involvement. His keen interest in workplace flexibility and its promise for gender equality led him to design team-based approaches for work redesign, making it possible for companies to implement flexible work arrangements, assuring benefits for individuals and companies. At the time of his death, he was focused on ensuring that human resource professionals were aware of these important possibilities.

Graeme’s success as a consultant and colleague was facilitated by his genuine warmth, friendliness, and accessibility, which allowed him to get along with everyone regardless of their personal characteristics or ideology.  His personal strengths were especially evident in his skillful engagement with diverse groups, including senior managers, employees, unions, politicians, academics and social activists. While Graeme’s professional and personal lives were mutually enriching, his first priority in life was always his family, comprising his wife Susan, his children (Kirsten, Emily, and Benjamin) and his eight grandchildren. He especially adored his grandchildren and played an important role in their daily lives, spending as much time as possible with them. He was a loving husband, father, and grandfather.

Graeme’s legacy as a pioneer of gender equality in Australia will be long-lasting and his influence on students, collaborators, scholars, human resource practitioners, and policy makers has been profound.

Linda Haas, Indiana University, Indianapolis, USA
Philip Hwang, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Michael E. Lamb, University of Cambridge, UK

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

four × 4 =