Home Economics

The King & Amy O’Malley Trust considers Home Economics in an International context, and is guided by the 2008 position statement from the International Federation of Home Economics;

“Home Economics is a field of study and a profession, situated in the human sciences that draws from a range of disciplines to achieve optimal and sustainable living for individuals, families and communities. Its historical origin place home economics in the context of the home and household, and this is extended in the 21st century to include the wider living environments as we better understand that the capabilities, choices and priorities of individuals and families impact at all levels, ranging from the household, to local and also the global community. Home Economists are concerned with the empowerment and well being of individuals, families and communities, and of facilitating the development of attributes for lifelong learning for paid unpaid and voluntary work and living situations. Home Economics professionals are advocates for individuals, families and communities.”

“Home Economics is a vital profession currently enjoying renewed attention in the present era. Our contemporary world is characterised as one of unprecedented transition from industrial to knowledge based culture and global economy, with all-encompassing effects on society and culture. The information age is complex, diverse and unpredictable, yet has a strong commitment to retaining those elements of society that are valued, while looking ahead to the imperative of improving the world in which we all live such that sustainable development is possible. Herein lies the potential for home economics and the reason for renewed attention to the field of study, as this is the key imperative of the profession.”

Within the national context, the O’Malley Trust draws on The Home Economics Institute of Australia’s 2010 position paper on Home Economics and the National Curriculum. Here, Home Economics is clarified by four areas of practice:

  1. as an academic discipline to educate new scholars, to conduct research and to create new knowledge and ways of thinking for professionals and for society as an arena for everyday living in households, families and communities for developing human growth potential and human necessities or basic needs to be met
  2. as a curriculum area that facilitates students to discover and further develop their own resources and capabilities to be used in their personal life, by directing their professional decisions and actions or preparing them for life
  3. as a societal arena to influence and develop policy to advocate for individuals, families and communities to achieve empowerment and wellbeing, to utilise transformative practices, and to facilitate sustainable futures.

All subjects, courses of study and professionals identifying as home economists must exhibit at least three essential dimensions:

  1. a focus on fundamental needs and practical concerns of individuals and family in everyday life and their importance both at the individual and near community levels, and also at societal and global levels so that wellbeing can be enhanced in an ever changing and ever challenging environment;
  2. the integration of knowledge, processes and practical skills from multiple disciplines through interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary inquiry; AND
  3. the demonstrated capacity to take critical/ transformative/ emancipatory action to enhance wellbeing and to advocate for individuals, families and communities at all levels and sectors of society.

Ensuring the interplay of these dimensions of Home Economics is the basis upon which the profession can be sustained into the future. Because of these attributes, Home Economics is distinctively positioned to collaborate with other professionals.

The following links provide a list of organisations that offer opportunities for individuals to contribute to the home economics profession through being a member of the association and also through undertaking various volunteering roles.

Home Economics Institute of Australia (HEIA)

Home Economics Institute of Australia Divisional contacts

Home Economics Victoria

International Federation for Home Economics

Dietitians Australia

Dietitians Connection

Nutrition Australia