Skip to main content

Feminism, gender equality and public policy. Where are we now?

The IPR’s 2018 symposium Feminism, gender equality and public policy. Where are we now? will examine gender equality in politics and policy.

  • 13 Sep 2018, 9.30am to 13 Sep 2018, 6.30pm BST (GMT +01:00)
  • The Arts Lecture Theatre, The Edge, University of Bath
  • This event is free
Equality graphic
Equality graphic

This year’s IPR annual symposium will focus on women, gender equality and feminism in contemporary politics and public policy. It is a year in which we celebrate the centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act, when women aged thirty and over in the UK were first entitled to vote, and at the same time witness the spread of a powerful social activism following repeated revelations of harassment and abuse of women. The symposium will debate feminism in public policy, women in politics and “everyday” gender inequalities.

On public policy, the symposium will examine such issues as the gender pay gap, the impact of fiscal policy on women, childcare and parental leave policies, and feminist priorities for reform of the welfare state in OECD countries. We will also debate public policy priorities for gender equality in the global south, and how a focus on women’s agency and rights can help secure wider socio-economic development.

On politics, we will debate the experience of women in political parties and democratic systems; advances and reversals for women in politics and policymaking; and priorities for future reform. On “everyday” gender inequalities, we will examine the gender stereotyping of children, women’s experience of sexism, harassment and abuse, and women’s social activism and campaigning in society.

Final programme:

9.30 – 10.00 – Registration, tea and coffee

10.00- 10.10 – Welcome Professor Nick Pearce, IPR Director, University of Bath.

10.10- 11.10 – Gender pay gaps: a historical perspective. Professor Emma Griffin, University of East Anglia.

Abstract: Gender pay gaps have been found wherever records of economic activity exist. In the Bible, the Lord tells Moses that the Israelites should place the value of female servants at three-fifths that of male servants and differentials have been found across the world before, during and after industrialisation. In Britain today, women undertake a greater share of unpaid domestic duties, are less likely to undertake paid employment, and face pay discrimination when they do. Gender pay gaps even persist in progressive nations with a generally good record of gender equality, such as those in Scandinavia. Why has the belief that women’s work deserves less pay than men’s been so universal? And why is it proving so difficult to eradicate? In this talk, I will turn to the past to make sense of our contemporary struggle to award female workers the same rate of pay as men.

11.10 – 12.30 - Panel debate on the role of Women in politics and work

  1. Dr Ana Weeks, Lecturer in Comparative Politics, University of Bath.
  2. Gita Sahgal - founder member of Southall Black Sisters; former lead of Amnesty International’s gender unit.
  3. Professor Sarah Childs, Professor of Politics and Gender Studies, Birkbeck, University of London.
  4. Dr Farah Mihlar, University of Exeter.

Chair: Dr Emma Carmel, Senior Lecturer in Social Policy, University of Bath.

12.30 – 13.30 – Lunch

13.30 – 14.50 - Panel debate on Barriers to equality; gender pay gap; Family status and wages, Universal Credit and migrant experiences.

  1. Dr Susan Milner, Reader in European Politics, University of Bath.
  2. ` Professor Lynn Prince Cooke, Professor of Social Policy, University of Bath.2.
  3. Dr Rita Griffiths, Research Fellow, IPR, University of Bath.
  4. Professor Nira Yuval-Davis, Director of the Centre for Research on Migration, Refugees and Belonging, University of East London.

Chair: Professor Jane Millar OBE FBA, Professor in Social Policy and IPR Leadership team, University of Bath.

14.50 – 15.50 – Panel debate on Social media and everyday sexism.

  1. Olivia Dickinson, Campaigner, Let Toys be Toys.
  2. Azmina Dhrodia, Amnesty International.
  3. Stephanie Boland, Head of Digital, Prospect.

Chair: Dr Leda Blackwood, Lecturer, University of Bath.

15.50- 16.10 – Tea and coffee

16.10 – 17.20 - A ‘Feminist Government’: Another opportunity to mainstream equality in Wales? Dr Alison Parken, Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University.

Abstract: The Welsh Government has announced the intention to become a feminist government, to make Wales the safest place for women in Europe and to review all ‘gender and equality policies [to] bring new impetus to our work’.

But what is a feminist government? What kind of gender equality are we aiming for? And can efforts to mainstream equality in public policy jump the gap between legislation and implementation?

In this keynote I will review the considerable efforts to mainstream equality since devolution in Wales and an international review of promising practice for gender mainstreaming undertaken to support the first Phase of the Gender Equality Review.

I will assess whether this is another significant opportunity to give impetus to the unique Welsh ‘mainstreaming equality duty’ (s.77, Government of Wales Act 2006), which requires Welsh Ministers to promote equality of opportunity for all people in all their duties and functions, and, which should therefore, foster an intersectional approach to equality.

17.20 – 17.30 – Symposium closing remarks. Jane Millar OBE FBA, Professor in Social Policy and IPR Leadership team, University of Bath.

Hashtag: #IPRFeminism

Booking details

Register for this event


The Arts Lecture Theatre The Edge University of Bath Claverton Down Bath BA2 7AY United Kingdom


If you have any questions, please contact us.