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UK Research Team

I completed my PhD in gender theory and political theory at the LSE. My research interests include feminist political theory; debates about egalitarianism and social justice; democracy and representation; women, gender, and politics; and liberal theory and practice, particularly around the concept of the welfare state. My thesis, The Ideal of Equality: Luck Egalitarianism and its Critics, explores a currently influential theory of justice that treats inequalities traceable to differences in unchosen native abilities and social circumstances as objectionable, but condones those inequalities traceable to voluntary choice. I draw on feminist and mainstream critiques of luck egalitarianism to argue for a pluralist understanding of equality that centres around what it is to treat people as democratic equals and to treat them with equal respect. Inequalities in political representation thus figure alongside the more standard inequalities in income and wealth; while the texture of everyday relations – whether these convey attitudes of disparagement or of respect – became as important as more formal equalities in rights.

I graduated from the University of Edinburgh in MA Politics with first class honours in 2007 and completed an MRES with distinction at the University of Bristol in 2008. I am currently in the final year of a Leverhulme Trust funded PhD which examines the institutionalisation of gendered norms and the substantive representation of women in Westminster and the Scottish Parliament. More specifically, the thesis looks at how the substantive representation of women is affected by parliamentary ceremonies and traditions, political buildings and ritualised behaviour. It is based on participant observation, through eight shadowing placements with MPs and MSPs, and over sixty elite interviews, conducted with 38 MPs, 22 MSPs and directors/policy directors of 6 women’s groups.

I am currently a sessional lecturer at Birkbeck College, teaching on the Modern British Politics masters (2010-2011). I have presented papers at a range of conferences, including the European Conference on Politics and Gender (ECPG), January 2009; PSA Women and Politics Conference, February 2010; and the Elections, Public Opinion and Parties (EPOP) 2010 Annual Conference. I have also participated in a number of workshops/events including Gender and British Politics seminars, Birkbeck College, Gendered Ceremony and Ritual in Parliament (GCRP) workshops and spoken at a Soroptomist International meeting (June 2010). I am a member of several professional bodies, including the Political Studies Association (PSA), PSA women and politics and the Study of Parliament Group (SPG).