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A multinational perspective on gender and politics: A successful journey at Bath

MA Gender and Politics graduate Elisa shares her academic and personal journey, focusing on enhancing women's representation in global decisions.

A young woman smiling while wearing a robe and mortarboard hat at graduation.
Elisa chose MA Gender and Politics at Bath after studying in the Netherlands.

After graduating from MA Gender and Politics in 2023, Elisa Garbil reflects on her journey to Bath, studying the course, and living in the city.

A diverse European background

I’m dual nationality - my dad is French, my mum is Dutch, and I hold a British passport. I've grown up all over Europe, living in France, Belgium, and Italy. I studied in the Netherlands and spent some time in Australia during an exchange programme.

In 2017, I completed my undergraduate degree in European Studies at Maastricht University. For political science students, pursuing a master’s degree is quite common, so I chose to focus on international relations and security at the Free University of Amsterdam.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic meant all my classes were online. After this, I contemplated an internship but decided to further my studies aiming to look at the area of international law, human rights and gender politics, realising that this knowledge was crucial for a career in government or foreign affairs.

‘This master’s at Bath has been the best studying environment and content I’ve encountered. The course broadens minds, instils a sense of fairness, and is essential for anyone aiming to work in politics, government, or international security.’
Elisa Garbil MA Gender and Politics graduate (2023)

Understanding gender dynamics

The content of the MA Gender and Politics course at Bath was a clear stand out. Honestly, I didn't know where Bath was when I applied, but the course content was exceptional and exactly what I wanted. Gender issues should be central to any course covering politics, international relations, and security. In crises like war and poverty, gender issues manifest differently and require specific solutions. Women often bear different burdens, and it’s crucial to consider entire communities rather than just sections.

This master’s at Bath has been the best studying environment and content I’ve encountered. The course broadens minds, instils a sense of fairness, and is essential for anyone aiming to work in politics, government, or international security.

The small cohort size facilitated excellent discussions and debates, allowing us to challenge each other’s thinking; which is crucial for understanding all sides of a situation and a really valuable part of the learning experience.

Currently, I am more passionate than ever about researching gender equality and improving women’s representation. Through my coursework, I explored women's roles in security, terrorism, and politics, with my dissertation focusing on gender quotas in political committees. Achieving 50/50 representation in government is a good goal, but true equality demands that the structures underpinning government reflect this balance. My aim is to support policy changes to address this imbalance, such as implementing gender quotas, ensuring equal parental leave, and closing the pay gap. Supporting women returning to work after childbirth is also crucial for advancing representation.

My commitment to improving women's lives drove my studies in gender and politics. This field has equipped me with the knowledge and tools to advocate for necessary changes.

Bath: The unexpected destination

Despite not initially knowing where Bath was, the high application standards and positive feedback about the city from my mother, who lived in the UK for ten years, convinced me to apply. Bath turned out to be a lovely city, and I am so glad I made that choice.

The campus was fantastic, with plenty of quiet places - like the city library and my accommodation - where I could focus on my work. I loved exploring the city too; it’s so easily accessible on foot, especially the bookshops like Toppings and Mr. B’s Emporium. My cohort and I often did yoga together and enjoyed coffee at the numerous excellent cafes. Bath offered a great work-life balance with plenty of choices for everyone.

The course gave me an invaluable opportunity to critically explore and engage with gender-related issues in political structures, international relations, and security. It allowed me to express my ideas, test theories, and engage in robust discussions in a supportive environment, which was pivotal for my academic journey. The experience exceeded my expectations, providing a perfect blend of rigorous study and an enriching social experience.

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