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Latest stories from the Department of Gender Studies

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Response to the reported plans by the UK Government to dismiss the reform of the Gender Recognition Act 2004

24 June 2020 

 It has been reported [1, 2, 3] that the Government plans to abandon its pledge to reform the GRA, which governs trans people’s access to Gender Recognition Certificates. Currently, the process of obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate is lengthy, stigmatising, and deeply flawed. It requires trans people to go through a series of onerous gatekeeping measures in order to access support, care, and acknowledgement. The imperative need to reform this Act has been a central facet of transfeminist activism in the UK for years. 

The Government’s 2018 consultation on changing the GRA signalled a commitment to implementing reforms that would affirm the human rights and dignity of trans and non-binary individuals. The vast majority of responses to the consultation (around 70%) argued for a revised GRA which would legally affirm the autonomy of trans people over their gender identities, admit self-identification as the only and sufficient grounds for obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate, and recognise non-binary gender identities.  

Yet, despite resounding calls for, and support of reform, the current Government, and the Minister for Women and Equalities, have indicated that they are turning their backs on trans and non-binary people. Instead of implementing reform, the Government intends to explicitly exclude trans people, particularly trans women, from single-sex spaces and services, including domestic violence refuges and public lavatories, claiming there is a need to protect cis women. The protection rationale is inaccurate and evidence shows it to be entirely baseless. Effectively, this move will codify discrimination against trans people, entrenching structural transphobia in policy and law. This is unacceptable and must be challenged.

Research has found that services in England and Wales have been supporting trans women in their single-sex, women-only services for some time with many taking proactive steps to ensure their services are trans-inclusive. They have been doing so against a landscape of austerity and Government-imposed budget cuts which have severely curtailed their capacity to provide care to vulnerable populations. It is our position that trans people - with or without a GRC - should not be excluded from single-sex services, particularly those single-sex services provided for vulnerable populations such as refuges and shelters. The exclusion of trans people from these spaces makes them even more vulnerable to abuse, destitution, and homelessness, which already disproportionately affect them.

The Government has also indicated that it will “strengthen” guidelines regulating access to healthcare for trans and non-binary people under the age of 18, based on the principle that they “should be protected from making decisions that are irreversible about their bodies”. Details of the new rules have not been given, but this announcement sends a worrying message about the Government’s intentions. Trans and non-binary children and young people already face long waiting lists to access medical treatment - which can be life-saving - and any new restrictions to their bodily autonomy could cause immense harm.  

The leak of the Government’s plans for scrapping the GRA reform take place in a critical context marked by the Covid-19 crisis, and the massive and transversal mobilisations against anti-Black racism, and so its timing can only raise suspicion. As we are all too aware, Black trans people are extraordinarily and disproportionately vulnerable to the violent workings of racism, misogyny, and transphobia. The policing of sex and gender is part of a longer racial and colonial history of determining the confines of humanity, worth, and dignity. As such, the current actions by the Government which threaten the livelihoods of trans people, and seek to regulate the boundaries of sex, must be understood as contributing to the structures of anti-Blackness. Recent attacks on trans rights in Hungary, the US and India, in addition to gender-segregated rules to contain the spread of coronavirus in some Latin American countries, show that anti-trans policies are a transnational phenomenon, and we join activists and scholars resisting such legislation across the world. 

In this context, we stand by our original demand to support trans and non-binary people and in solidarity with the demands made by a number of LGBT organisations, trans movements, leaders and politicians, call on the Government to commit to support trans and non-binary people by taking on a full reform of the GRA under the outlined principles of autonomy and equality and abandon its proposed reforms limiting trans people’s access to single-sex spaces and trans young people’s access to healthcare.  

We at the Department of Gender Studies unequivocally state our collective support for trans and non-binary people. We refute the popular-press representation of feminism as predominantly trans-exclusionary and transphobic, and reject feminisms that deny the rights and freedoms of trans and non-binary people. As a Department we reaffirm our commitment to trans and non-binary rights and will continue to strongly support efforts to resist such clear violations of human dignity.  

The faculty, professional services staff and PhD students of the Department of Gender Studies

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Solidarity With Our Students Against Racial Injustice

Our response to the racist killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor in the US, and the continued and systemic brutality of the police deployed to quash anti-racist protests.

June 2020

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COVID-19: Reflections on the Pandemic
Our faculty and PhD students are writing about the politics of COVID-19.

June 2020

 

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UCU Strike: Solidarity in Times of Crisis
The Department of Gender Studies stands in solidarity with colleagues participating in the UCU industrial action over pay, workload, equality, casualisation.

February 2020

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Haunting Feminism: Encounters with Lesbian Ghosts
A special issue of Feminist Theory edited by Ilana Eloit and Clare Hemmings

February 2020

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CEU Reiterates Opposition to the Removal of Gender Studies Programmes in Hungary

See also an Engenderings blog post on the history of similar attacks in Brazil from last year 

 


 

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Response to the Government's consultation on the Gender Recognition Act 2004

Please read this statement by The Department of Gender Studies, LSE - 18th October 2018. 

For more information and to give your views on the consultation, click here 


 

 

 

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The Times Higher this week reported on the Hungarian Government pushing forward with its plans to ban Gender Studies Masters programmes at both ELTE Faculty of Social Sciences and the Central European University (CEU). This is a clear attack on academic freedom that the Department of Gender Studies condemns. Gender Studies is an internationally recognised area of interdisciplinary study and its targeting is clearly ideological. 

There have been a range of such attacks on Gender Studies programmes, faculty teaching in the field, and individuals who are gender non-conformist across Europe, in the US and in Latin America in recent years. These attacks are aligned with right-wing populist agendas that naturalise power relations between men and women and see women only as home-makers and carers. Such attacks link anti-migrant, racist, homophobic and sexist ideologies in the promotion of undemocratic, nationalist agendas and should be strongly resisted.

See an Engenderings blog post  on the history of such attacks in Brazil from last year 

And please sign this university teachers' petition:

KC

Clare Hemmings writes:

"The Department of Gender Studies was delighted to be able to offer a week-long intensive course for PhD students across the LSE, from SOAS, UCL and Goldsmiths on ‘Intersectional Politics’ in May. 

This experimental course featured the work of our Centennial Professor, Kimberlé Crenshaw, who developed the concept of ‘intersectionality’ in a Critical Legal Studies context in the late 1980s. The course allowed students to follow the development of both Prof. Crenshaw's work and the many 'lives of intersectionality' since its inception. Students were delighted to engage in seminar discussions of texts, listen to lectures, and develop group and individual projects based on their own research. 

There were several things that stuck out for me as memorable. First was Prof. Crenshaw's generosity in talking to and engaging student projects over the week as a whole. Second was the importance of bringing together research students from across the LSE (from Gender, Media, Social Policy, Sociology and Geography) with students in Sociology and Media from Goldsmiths, Architecture from UCL, and Gender Studies from SOAS: this really made for a fruitful engagement and was a testimony to the value of reaching beyond institutional boundaries. Third was the hospitality of the PhD Academy, who offered their lovely space for the week long course, provided a reception and lunches, and were on hand to deal with any problems. 

Many thanks to all involved with the course at design, research and delivery levels, particularly Hazel Johnstone (Gender) and Loraine Evans (PhD Academy). "

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LSE Students' Union Teaching Excellence Awards 2018

These awards allow students to nominate and celebrate the staff who have made a difference and enhanced their experiences during their time at LSE.

The awards this year led to over 900 individual nominations, with over 400 members of staff being nominated in 7 categories of awards. After careful consideration the panel has recognised 1 winner, 2-5 runners-up and 4-10 highly commended staff members in each category.

We are proud to announce and congratulate the following members of Faculty that have been recognised from our Department:

  •  Runner up in the Award for Sharing Subject Knowledge - Aisling Swaine
  • Highly Commended in the Award for Excellent Feedback and Communication - Ania Plomien
  • Runner up in the Award for Research Guidance and Support - Jacob Breslow
  • Highly Commended in the Award for Inspirational Teaching - Clare Hemmings and Jacob Breslow

 In the picture to the left, you can see the Winners of the Best Teacher Award for their teaching of the GI424 Gender Theory Course.

  • (Top L to R) Emma Spruce, Julia Hartviksen, Jacob Breslow, Jacqui Gibbs
  • (Bottom L to R) Aiko Holvikivi, Aura Lehtonen 
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Considering Emma Goldman - New Book by Clare Hemmings

In Considering Emma Goldman Clare Hemmings examines the significance of the anarchist activist and thinker for contemporary feminist politics. see more

Clare will be discussing and launching her new book on Friday 27th April  5:30 - 7:00pm, LSE 

Read a review of the of the publication here

Read an interview with the Author here 

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Conflict-Related Violence against Women -  New Book by Aisling Swaine

By comparatively assessing three conflict-affected jurisdictions (Liberia, Northern Ireland and Timor-Leste), Conflict-Related Violence against Women empirically and theoretically expands current understanding of the form and nature of conflict-time harms impacting women. see more

Aisling will be launching her book as part of a panel discussion on Wednesday 25th April 6:30 - 8:00pm , LSE

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Under-represented, underpaid, and over-exploited: economic policy remains sexist - New Blog Article by Diane Perrons

Gender inequality exists in the UK, despite half a century’s worth of efforts to the contrary, argues Diane Perrons, co-director of the LSE’s Commission on Gender, Inequality and Power. She writes that the gender pay gap has declined, but men continue to be over-represented among full-time workers and in high-paid jobs, while women are at a greater risk of poverty. She argues that gender-sensitive macroeconomic policies and gender-responsive budgeting are some of the changes that will help avoid another century slipping by without us achieving gender equality.

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UCU Strike: Solidarity in Times of Crisis

The Department of Gender Studies stands in solidarity with colleagues participating in the UCU industrial action over pensions

We support our striking colleagues because:

  • We do not accept the proposed reductions in the value and security of pensions. This is an unnecessary attack on a shared good which will leave everyone who pays into the USS worse off, especially those at the beginning of their careers.
  • We understand the issue of pensions (as well as pay) to be a gendered and intersectional matter affecting women and minorities more than other workers. Erosion of pension security disproportionately affects early career and precarious workers.
  • We value the right to collective voice of university workers whose intellectual, pastoral, and administrative labour makes the very existence of the higher education sector possible.
  • We back our colleagues and UCU in the call for employers to return to meaningful negotiations and lament the lack of political participation represented by LSE union members' failure to return their ballots. 

As part of this solidarity, we will not hold public lectures or research seminars on strike days.

Signed: Jacob Breslow, Helen Groves, Clare Hemmings, Marsha Henry, Hazel Johnstone, Naila Kabeer, Ece Kocabicak, Sumi Madhok, Anouk Patel-Campillo, Diane Perrons, Ania Plomien, Leticia Sabsay, Wendy Sigle, Emma Spruce, Kate Steward, Aisling Swaine and Sadie Wearing.

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Imaobong

New Advisory Committee Member

We are delighted to say that Imaobong Umoren is a new member of our Advisory Committee.

Imaobong is Assistant Professor of International History of Gender at the London School of Economics. She received her undergraduate and master’s degrees at King’s College London before moving to the University of Oxford where she gained her DPhil and spent a year serving as a Fulbright scholar at Harvard University. She subsequently took up a Career Development Fellowship jointly held with Pembroke College and the Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities research programme Women in the Humanities. 

Imaobong Umoren’s research focuses on the history of race, gender, and migration in the Caribbean and wider African diaspora in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. She has published chapters in edited volumes and articles in Journal of Women’s HistoryCallalooA journal of African diaspora arts and lettersHistory Compass and History of Women in the Americas. Her first book about the international travels of a group of African American and Caribbean women intellectuals titled, Race Women Internationalists: Activist-Intellectuals and Global Freedom Struggles is due to be published in 2018 by the University of California Press.

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Aisling Swaine participated in a research conference on “Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and the Worlds of Their Making” held at The George Washington University, Washington DC on January 19th and 20th.

The conference brought together a collection of academic authors for an edited book project which  specifically explores the relationship between the fields of human rights and humanitarianism through philosophical, historical, political science, legal and social science lenses. Aisling presented a paper, and forthcoming chapter, that maps the trajectory that the issue of violence against women (VAW) has taken through the development of these fields, identifying the productive tensions that arise in the areas of divergence and convergence in responses to VAW that are evoked in the space of a humanitarian crisis now commonly shared by human rights and humanitarian actors. Her paper examines who gets to decide whether a humanitarian or human rights response is priority in a particular scenario, the humanitarians, the human rights workers or women themselves?

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We are delighted to announce various members of the faculty’s recently published work: 

On Vernacular Rights Cultures and the Political Imaginaries of Haq - Sumi Madhok

The Political Imaginary of Sexual Freedom - Leticia Sabsay

Cedaw and the security council: enhancing women's rights in conflict - Aisling Swaine

Considering Emma Goldman - Clare Hemmings

Selected Media

LSE Gender has a new Selected Media page

We have updated our new website with a number of new pages, including a 'Selected Media' page where we will place all LSE Gender-related media.

 

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LSESU Award Wins for LSE Gender 

The Department of Gender Studies staff and PhDs won a number of awards in the 2017 LSESU Student-led Teaching Excellence Awards. We want to say a huge thank you to the students that nominated us!

Click here for more info.

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The Persistence of Gender Inequality - New Book by Mary Evans 

In this engaging new book, Mary Evans argues that optimistic narratives of progress and emancipation have served to obscure long-term structural inequalities between women and men, structural inequalities which are not only about gender but also about general social inequality.

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LSE Gender celebrate International Women’s Day and Support the Global Women’s Strike, March 8th 2017!

Click above to read the statement by Clare Hemmings, Director of the Department of Gender Studies, and LSE Library's bold women project.

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Congratulations to our LSE Gender Excellence In Education Award Winners!

LSE’s Excellence in Education Awards are made to staff who have demonstrated outstanding teaching contribution and educational leadership in their departments. In this series, we talk to some of this year's award winners to find out more about their excellent teaching and the different approaches they take to working with students.

Professor Diane Perrons, LSE Gender            

Professor Wendy Sigle, LSE Gender            

Dr Sadie Wearing, LSE Gender           

Dr Ania Plomien, LSE Gender 

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Academics abroad: Dr Sumi Madhok gave one of the keynote lectures The Swedish South Asian Studies Network (SASNET) conference in Lund on “Modern Matters: Negotiating the Future of Everyday Life in South Asia” on Wednesday 21 September entitled “Is a Non-Hegemonic Human Rights Talk Possible?”

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The EU and gender equality: better off in or out?

Dr Ania Plomien comments on the UK Referendum, exploring questions of inequality, gender and im/migration

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Gender Institute wins LSESU Departmental Excellence Award

At the student-led teaching awards at LSE, the Gender Institute and our staff won a number of awards.

Thank you to all the students who nominated us!

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What does the EU Referendum mean for women?

On 8 March Policy Network hosted an event focused on women and the upcoming EU referendum. Panelists Ania Plomien from the GI along with Emma Reynolds MP, Cordelia Hay, Sam Smethers, Catherine Mayer, and chair Ayesha Hazarika considered what EU membership means for women in Britain and looked at the ways in which progressive politics can engage with  women in the run up to 23 June referendum. Organised by GI alumna Emma Kinloch.  Audio recording is available from

https://soundcloud.com/policy-network/what-does-the-eu-referendum-mean-for-women

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Investing in the Care Economy - report launched

A gender analysis of employment stimulus in seven OECD countries, with contributions from Diane Perrons, Director of the GI, and Zofka Łapniewska, a former GI Visiting Fellow.

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Gender, Inequality and Power Commission

The findings from the LSE's Commission on Gender, Inequality and Power will be launched at an event on Tuesday 13th October at LSE. The event is free and open to all - no tickets required. The Commission is examining issues within politics, law, the economy, and media and culture, and it is co-directed by Professors Diane Perrons and Nicola Lacey (pictured).

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British Council publication on working with women and girls

The British Council has published Naila Kabeer's study on 'Women and Girls: the British Council approach' and this is now available online. In this study Naila explores how women and girls can be empowered to promote gender equality through public life, sport and peacekeeping.

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Women's claims-making project: Naila Kabeer's contribution now available online

Naila Kabeer's thematic study: 'Women Workers and the Politics of Claims-Making in a Globalizing Economy' is now available online. This study was prepared for the UNRISD project on 'When and Why do States Respond to Women's Claims? Understanding Gender-Egalitarian Policy Change in Asia'. 

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'Cohesion is key to fostering gender inequality' by Professor Diane Perrons

Professor Diane Perrons (Director of the Gender Institute) has written an article for the European Progressive Observatory. The article, 'Cohesion is key to fostering gender inequality', discusses how women have been adversely affected by changes in the labour market wrought by neo-liberalism, while their social position means they have often been hardest hit by post-crisis austerity policies.

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Professor Diane Perrons has contribited to the European Commission's report on 'Visions for Gender Equality'

The European Commission has published a report on the 'Visions for Gender Equality', in which Professor Diane Perrons, Director of the Gender Institute and Professor of Economic Geography and Gender Studies, has written a chapter. Her chapter is 'Gender equality in times of inequality, crisis and austerity: towards gender-sensitive macroeconomic policies'. The report can be accessed online here.

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The Gender Institute welcomes the opening of the new International Inequalities Institute

Diane Perrons (Director of the Gender Institute) and Naila Kabeer (Professor of Gender and Development at the Gender Institute) joined Thomas Piketty (Pictured and Centennial Professor at LSE’s new International Inequalities Institute), Lisa McKenzie (Research Fellow in the Department of Sociology at LSE) and Stephanie Seguino (Professor of Economics at the University of Vermont, USA) on a panel discussion on ‘Gender and Everyday Life’. This panel was part of the conference on ‘Inequality in the 21st Century: a Day Long Engagement with Thomas Piketty’, which took place just before the opening of the new International Inequalities Institute. The new International Inequalities Institute website is now available to access online. 

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Gender, Inequality and Power Commission

The Gender Institute hosts the LSE Commission on Gender, Inequality and Power. The Commission is designed to draw on LSE research and external experts to provide theoretical and empirical knowledge to inform public and policy debates in the UK concerned with understanding and addressing the complex and multidimensional character of inequality and power imbalances between women and men. The Commission is examining issues within politics, law, the economy, and media and culture, and it is co-directed by Professors Diane Perrons and Nicola Lacey (pictured).

Professor Diane Perrons led a public lecture on 'Gender, Inequality and Power' to introduce the Commission. Please click here to access the podcast of this lecture.

 

 

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