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Gender Institute Projects

Gender Institute Projects

Research. Teaching. Impact.

Learn about the Projects of the Gender Institute and its Associates and Affiliates! 

It is vital that the world's parliaments respond to the COVID-19 pandemic with gender sensitivity; vital for public order and the rule of law, the effective containment of the disease, and the health and wider well-being of the public, both now, and in the future. This week has seen the publication of UN Women's 'A PRIMER FOR PARLIAMENTARY ACTION:Gender Sensitive Responses to COVID-19'. Co-authored by Royal Holloway's new Professor of Gender and Politics, Sarah Childs, and ANU's Dr Sonia Palmieri, the Primer, and its accompanying 'checklist', makes clear the case for parliaments to accept this democratic responsibility, and offers practical advice to ensure gender sensitive parliamentary business and working arrangements,  during and beyond, the pandemic. 

Sexual Relations as International Relations explores the co-constitution of the state and sex in global politics. It puts forth an argument that state borders, the people who inhabit state borders, and the international status of states cannot be fully understood without reference to sex acts and sexual relationships. It does so by making a case across geography and across history that sex acts have been both independently significant and part of key webs of signification in the establishment, evolution, and status of states. To accomplish this, the book has two interrelated substantive foci: dynastic reproduction (particularly treaty marriages) and sex-based regulations for migration and citizenship.

         Building on feminist and queer theorizing in global politics that has highlighted the importance of gender, sexuality, and perceptions about those things in the structure and function of the global political arena, this project takes sex as both significatory and embodied. Expanding on Spike Peterson’s argument that ‘making states is making sex’, it argues that states and sex are inextricably co-constituted in contemporary global politics, not only in the production of the state, but in its constant reproduction. Through its empirical work, this project makes links between sex, sexuality, motherhood, and state territorial security and citizenship rules.

        Funded by the British Academy and housed in the Department of Politics, International Relations, and Philosophy, this is a project that will produce a book project and a series of articles and posts. 

This project, funded by the Research England Strategic Priorities Fund, explores the applicability of research on gender and intersectionality in patterns of voting and running for public office. Together, the co-investigators’ previous work makes a case that gender (overlapping with race, ethnicity, nationality, sexuality, class, dis/ability and other axes) plays important roles in guiding voter behaviour, impacting political opinion, giving meaning to substantive representation, framing how campaigns are run, shaping how campaigns are experienced, and establishing expectations for leaders. This project looks to make that work accessible, focusing on these related but separable entitles: women voters and women candidates. The ‘voter’ part of the project includes three building blocks meant to establish familiarity with dimensions of gender and the voting experience, building a tool to help people learn about women voters’ preferences, sharing information about gender and voting across a large social media campaign, and putting together a panel conversation about gender, voting, and the 2021 London mayoral election. The ‘candidate’ part of the project includes three building blocks meant to bring awareness to and further explore the gendered experiences that women candidates seeking public office have as they campaign and then lead, seeking conversations with women candidates about gendered experiences, partnering with advocacy groups to raise awareness of online violence against women candidates, and training RHUL students interested in running for public office.

This project historicises western butch lesbian identity and lived experience from the 1950s to the present day, via 30-40 oral history interviews with self-identified butches. Despite the acknowledged centrality of butchness and butch identity to modern lesbian subcultures, the butch herself has been curiously under-examined by historians. The proposed project will produce the first monograph devoted to the history of butch lesbianism. Through an ambitious international (UK, USA, Australia) and multi-generational approach, this project foregrounds butch identity and, in the process, seeks definitions of butch, which have proved elusive in both academic and community discourses. This timely project stages an important intervention during a period of ‘butch renaissance’ in queer subcultures, as well as fiercely polarised debates about trans identities and rights around which butch identity has been mobilised and contested. As such it has significant impact and public engagement potential.

This project capitalizes on research in the Royal Holloway, University of London Department of Politics, International Relations, and Philosophy on gender, elections, and democracy – work which looks at gender and public opinion, gender and substantive representation, women in democracy and elections, gendered political recruitment, gendered representation, and violence against women in politics (VAW-P) – as an anchor for an impact project on gender, candidacy, and voting.

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