PhD/ECR upcoming event

Research reflections roundtable:

Work, class and gender ‘Work and Exploitation’

Wednesday 25th of April, 2018, 1.30pm-3.45pm

City, University of London Northampton Square Campus, College Building, St Johns Street, Room AG03

Hosted by the City, University of London Department of Sociology


1.30pm-2.00pm: Networking lunch

2.00pm-2.10pm: Introductions

2.10pm-3.10pm: Presentations

3.10pm-3.30pm: Thoughts from discussants & Group debate

3.30pm-3.45pm: Closing remarks


Professor Julia O’Connell Davidson, Professor in Social Research, University of Bristol and Professor Bridget Anderson, Professor of Migration, Mobilities and Citizenship, University of Bristol.

Dr Vanessa Gash (Senior Lecturer in Sociology, City, University of London)


Rima Saini (PhD Quantitative Sociology, City, University of London)

Jessica Simpson (PhD Sociology, City, University of London)

Laura Shand (PhD Health and Social Care, University of Hull)

Yvonne Ehrstein (PhD Sociology, City, University of London)


Twitter: @CitySociology

Rima Saini

This paper will discuss the phenomenon of ‘ethnic capital’ and co-ethnic exploitation amongst second generation British South Asian professionals. It will focus on the concept of the ‘ethnic work ethic’ as an ethnic resource – both a tangible strategy that has enabled ethnic minority communities in the UK to fast-track their mobility, and a symbolic group attribute associated with hard work, dignity, and success. It is a concept which has endured beyond the ‘curry houses and corner shops’, and still governs the practices and beliefs of many second generation professionals, notably those who have rejected mainstream professional companies and established their own ethnic businesses. The paper will problematise the concept of the ethnic work ethic on two fronts: firstly, the role of this concept / discourse in legitimising self-exploitation and exploitation of community members; and secondly, the efficacy as well as desirability of these strategies amongst younger, second generation professionals looking to thrive beyond the ethnic enclave.

Jessica Simpson

Jessica’s paper will discuss some of the exploitative practices carried out within UK strip clubs and the impact this has on erotic dancers as a result of their ‘self-employed’ status. The talk will also include a discussion of the ongoing difficulties dancers face when attempting to seek recourse of any kind due to the stigmatised nature of their work.

Laura Shand

Laura Shand’s research considers current labour market precarity- the prevalence and increasing use of non-standard or casualised contracts (fixed term, zero hours, etc.)-  within UK Higher Education and how this intersects with gendered experience in academia. As well as considering whether the Early Career Academic today is a modern ‘portfolio worker’ or is in fact subject to ‘flexploitation’, the research also considers both the commonalities and variations in how different genders experience the work place. For example, is precarity exacerbating gendered bias in the competitive search for more stable academic work- a process detrimental to female academics- or does it in fact foster a form of solidarity and understanding between Early Career colleagues in a period of great uncertainty for HE? Cathexis and men’s emotional attachment to work is also another facet that is explored in this work. The research itself is being conducted through combined qualitative methodologies, firstly a combination of 20 in-depth interviews with current ECAs and 5 with senior academics reflecting upon their ECA experience and secondly ‘online focus group’ message board to allow ECAs to discuss, compare and reflect upon their collective experience. Laura is currently undertaking field work and analysis at this point in time.

Yvonne Ehrstein

Yvonne’s PhD project explores lived experiences and constructions of maternal femininities in online environments. By analysing the British parenting website both as a representation of contemporary parenting culture and as the largest UK parenting community, her research investigates cultural constructions of work-family reconciliations and how these are navigated on a subjective level.

From self-care to collective care?

From self care to collective care? A Gender and Sexuality Research Forum event supported by the Sociology Department

In these difficult times when so many people are given overpressured workloads we are frequently encouraged to look after ourselves and practice acts of ‘self-care’. Yet to what extent is this primarily an individualistic response? How might we practice forms of collective care instead? In this seminar members of two different collectives discuss how they envisage and practice collective forms of care, what that involves, and what it’s like working together.

The Res-Sisters are a feminist collective of early career academics. The group’s collective interests include challenging inequality both within and outside of academia, resisting the neoliberal agenda and making space for alternative voices to be heard.

The Micropolitics Research Group is interested in hierarchies in social organisation and the relationships between everyday and mundane encounters and wider social and political phenomena. They’ll be talking about authorship in academia and the art field, and their use of the photoromance.

Lynne Segal is Anniversary Professor of Psychology and Gender Studies at Birkbeck and the author of numerous books including Making Trouble and Radical Happiness (Verso).

Rosalind Gill is Professor of Cultural and Social Analysis at City; her books include Gender and the Media (Polity) Aesthetic Labour (Palgrave) and Gender and Creative Labour (Polity).


When – Wednesday 18th October

Time – 5pm – 7pm

Where – A130 College Building City, University of London, St John Street London EC1V 4PB


Tuesday 20th June 2017

2 pm – 7:30 pm 

Room B200 – University Building, City, University of London 

New and established scholars and activists reflect on old questions and new challenges. Please join us for an afternoon of talks and discussion at City, University of London to be followed by drinks and refreshments.

Speakers include:

Sue Jackson (VUW, New Zealand) talks about her work with girls on feminism

Roisin Ryan Flood (Essex) reports on her interviews about internet dating

Josie Reade (RMIT, Australia) opens up new ways of thinking about ‘fitspo’

Maree Martinussen (Auckland, New Zealand) explores practices of intimacy in female friendships.

Anastasia Powell (RMIT, Australia) talks about her new book Sexual Violence in a Digital Age

Laura Thompson (City, London) explores sexual harassment on mobile dating apps

Celiya Koster (activist/student, London) discusses co-founding a new intersectional feminist magazine, Typical Girls

We are delighted to announce that the symposium will be followed by two very special keynote presentations by Winnie M Li and Rowan Ellis (6-7.30 PM)

Winnie M Li, author, activist, researcher (LSE) will talk about her extraordinary new novel Dark Chapter, discussing ‘Narrating Lived Experiences of Sexual Violence through Crime Fiction’

Rowan Ellis (‘queer feminist geek’) will discuss her phenomenal campaign to get YouTube to lift their LGBTQ+ restrictions

This event is free and open to all – click here to sign up!

PLEASE NOTE: Because of the nature of the issues being discussed, some people may find parts of this symposium distressing.

Questions of beauty and visual appearing have long been central to feminist debate across a wide range of disciplines from art history to sociology and from psychology to media and cultural studies. The topic has aroused strong feelings and debates about beauty have been almost as fraught as those about pornography.

In the third of a series of events on neoliberalism, the Centre for Culture and Creative Industries and the Gender and Sexualities Research Forum at City, University of London, turn their attention to the politics of beauty in neoliberal times. How is beauty politics being remade by neoliberalism, with its languages of choice and personal responsibility? What are the impacts of intersectional and transnational perspectives on how we think about the politics of appearance? How do new notions of ‘glamour labour’ or ‘aesthetic entrepreneurship’ reframe debates about beauty?

Join us to discuss these and other issues at a Roundtable symposium with

Sarah Banet-Weiser,

Simidele Dosekun,

Sarah Riley,

Catherine Rottenberg

Shirley Tate.

The event is chaired by Jo Littler, and will be followed by a book launch and reception to mark the publication of Aesthetic Labour: Rethinking Beauty Politics in Neoliberalism edited by Ana Elias, Rosalind Gill and Christina Scharff, Palgrave 2017.

The event is free but booking is essential. Sign up here


When: 16th February – 4-6pm (followed by drinks reception)


College Building

Room A130,

City, University of London.



Upcoming event:
Centre for Culture and the Creative Industries presents:
The film screening of ‘She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry’ followed by Q&A and drinks reception
As part of the 40th anniversary celebrations of the Centre for Culture and the Creative Industries at City, University of London, please join us for a screening of the critically-acclaimed film, ‘She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry’, followed by a Q&A discussion on feminist activism past and present with our intergenerational panel.
She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry resurrects the buried history of the outrageous, often brilliant women who founded the modern women’s movement from 1966 to 1971.  She’s Beautiful takes us from the founding of NOW, with ladies in hats and gloves, to the emergence of more radical factions of women’s liberation; from intellectuals like Kate Millett to the street theatrics of W.I.T.C.H. (Women’s International Conspiracy from Hell!).  Artfully combining dramatizations, performance and archival imagery, the film recounts the stories of women who fought for their own equality, and in the process created a world-wide revolution.
Followed Q&A with our intergenerational panel:
Sue O’Sullivan has been a member of the London Women’s Liberation Workshop, Spare Rib magazine collective, Feminist Review Collective, Red Rag and Sheba Feminist Press. She was interviewed by the British Library about her involvement in second wave feminism.

Jessica Ringrose is Professor, UCL Institute of Education, and Chair of the Gender and Education Association. Her books include Post-Feminist Education?: Girls and the sexual politics of schooling (Routledge, 2013) and Children, Sexuality, and Sexualisation (Palgrave, 2015).

Rosa Tully is Founder of Highgate Wood Feminist Group, Plan International Youth Advisor and a social justice campaigner
Neil Robertson is Curriculum Leader for Social Sciences at City of London Academy, Islington


Please sign up HERE

We look forward to seeing you there!

Best wishes,

GSRF team.


Upcoming Event- Being & Doing: Gender & Race in the Academy

Being and Doing: Gender and Race in the Academy

An afternoon workshop organised by the City University of London Department of Sociology’s Gender and Sexualities Research Forum (GSRF)

Supported by the British Sociological Association (BSA) Race & Ethnicity Study Group


Tuesday 1 November 2016


Room DLG09 Rhind Building (City University of London) St John Street, London

Join us for this important workshop on female and BAME experiences of carrying out feminist and/or race and ethnicity research in the field of contemporary sociology and holding minority status(es) in an ever increasingly competitive, hierarchised environment.


We will be discussing issues of ‘being’ and ‘doing’ gender and race in the social sciences including negotiating and interpreting the insider / outside experience in the research field, and challenging racism, sexism and power and privilege in the academy.
This workshop will take place at City University London on November 1st 2016. It will be a space for PhDs, early career researchers and academics from across London and beyond to talk freely and safely about their experiences.


We will begin with a talk from Suki Ali, Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the London School of Economics followed by introductions from all participants. Representatives from City GSRF will convene the workshop portion. These will take the form of small group discussions on the themes of ‘doing’ gender and/or race, ‘being’ female and/or a racialised minority in the academy, and ‘change’ where we’ll in our groups form action points based on our thoughts during the discussions to feed out to the rest of the collective.


We sincerely look forward to having you with us.


Feminism and Neoliberalism

On 23rd June 2016, GSRF teamed up with renowned feminist scholars to deliver a unique and timely roundtable event on Feminism and Neoliberalism. We sought to collectively explore some pressing and complex questions facing feminism today such as, ‘what is the relationship between feminism and neoliberalism?’ ‘Is feminism becoming neoliberalized?’ And, ‘how might feminism resist neoliberalism?’ Chaired by Dr Rachel Lara Cohen (City University), the seminar began with insights from Dr Jo Littler (City University) on key moments in the historical relationship between feminism and neoliberalism. Jo discussed how femininities have become increasingly individualised and shaped as entrepreneurial projects of self-management/empowerment (for example, through notions of the ‘Mumpreneur’) and how this is based on post-race/class/feminist neoliberal meritocracy. Inspiringly, the talk ends with an emphasis on the importance of mobilising campaigns and what progressive opportunities there might be at present.

Our second panellist, Dr Kalpana Wilson (LSE) talked about how feminist ideas of empowerment and agency have been transformed and used to facilitate and legitimise the intensification of women’s labour in the Global South. Kalpana brought to light the ways in which the ‘gender equality as smart economics’ approach can in fact extend oppressive gendered and racialized inequalities. Furthermore, she argued that as philanthropic capitalist organisations promote a particular kind of neoliberal, entrepreneurial feminism, this negates the role of the state in social provision.

Next, the conversation shifted to ‘Confidence Cult(ure)’ and how the commodification of character becomes a gendered technology of self. In discussing her recent work with Dr Shani Orgad, Professor Rosalind Gill (City University) explored exhortations of confidence in advertising and the work place. Rosalind argued that as women’s ‘lack of’ confidence/self-esteem is framed as their main, individualised obstacle – something in their own psyche – this ignores important structural inequalities and cultural forces.

Dr Sara Farris (Goldsmiths) discussed the convergence of certain strands of feminism with neoliberalism in continental Europe – particularly France, Italy and the Netherlands. In the form of emancipation campaigns, Sara explained how ‘white supremacist feminists’ attempt to teach racialized and migrant women – who are considered to be oppressed/in need of ‘special help’ – to become culturally integrated and therefore emancipated. Moreover, within neoliberal workfare logic, she argued that women and feminist organisations are increasingly encouraging migrant women to participate within (certain areas of) the labour market which has become a civic ‘duty’, with welfare as a ‘privilege’.

Our final speaker Dr Shani Orgad (LSE) provided examples from her current research on the lived experiences of educated professional women who have left paid employment and how their experiences relate to current/limited narratives/imaginaries of feminism. Shani revealed that despite an acute awareness of the structural inequalities that have shaped their life trajectories, her respondents ultimately perceived their decisions/choices to leave their jobs and the consequences of doing so as personal failures. Accordingly, Shani discussed possibilities for alternative versions to neoliberal feminism and for different imagined futures that resist individualisation and expose how it is the system that needs to change, not women.

Bringing the event to a close, the floor was opened up to our audience for questions which allowed for engaging discussions on diverse issues such as intergenerational feminism, neoliberalism in academia, ethical consumption, post-racism and the politics of anger. We would like to sincerely thank all five speakers, our chair and to the audience for helping to create a positive, stimulating and thought-provoking event! If you were unable to attend, not to worry, you can watch a recording here.

Video: Ecofeminism, Food and Social Justice Seminar 2

You can watch Rosie and Deborah here:

Seminar 2

When: Wednesday, 16 March 2016 from 16:00 to 18:00

Where: City University London, Northampton Square London EC1V 0HB GB. Room C314 of the Tait Building.


Rosie Boycott

Title: “Women’s Lib, Cooking and Capitalism”

This presentation will raise a number of questions regarding the complex relationship between feminist ideas and cooking under capitalism. Focusing on the British context, it will depart from the founding of Spare Rib in the early 1970s to trace how food companies – in a way – colluded with the early Women’s Liberation Movement to promote meals that did not need cooking, and then how this has gone out of control. The presentation will attempt to reconcile feminist beliefs about women not being dumped with doing all the cooking, and the very real need not to feed ourselves and others on processed meals. We now say ‘we have no time’, but how we spend our time is a choice, and we have chosen not to spend it cooking.

About the speaker: Rosie Boycott co-founded the feminist magazine Spare Rib, along with the publishing company Virago Press. She was the editor of men’s magazine Esquire, and the first woman editor of national broadsheet and national mass-market newspapers (IndependentIndependent on Sunday,Daily Express). She is also an author, broadcaster, filmmaker, and Chair of London Food Board.

Deborah Johnston

Title: “The Production of Malnutrition: a Critical Review of Gender and Differentiation in Agri-Nutrition Policy”

Deborah Johnston (SOAS) will present a paper co-authored with Jasmine Gideon (Birkbeck, University of London). This paper reviews the new wave of agri-nutrition policy documents that have appeared since the food price crisis of 2007/8. The authors find that many policy documents either fail to mention gendered or class-based differences – or consider them in a limited way. In the case of gender, many studies take a narrow approach, failing to draw out the range of restrictions facing women as farmers and consumers of food. The paper concludes that too often policy ignores the multiple ways in which people acquire food in complex food systems.

About the speaker: Deborah Johnston is a Reader in Development Economics at SOAS, University of London. She works on labour, gender, poverty and health in Sub-Saharan Africa broadly. She is the author and co-author of a number of articles in this area including: (2015) Agriculture, Gendered Time Use, and Nutritional Outcomes: A Systematic Review. International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); and (2013) Agriculture for improved nutrition: the current research landscape.

The paper’s co-author, Jasmine Gideon, is a Senior Lecturer in Development Studies at Birkbeck, University of London, UK. She is the author of Gender, Globalization and Health in a Latin American Context (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) and the co-editor of Migration, Health and Inequality (Zed Press, 2013). Her current research explores health and well-being among the Latin American community in the UK.

Video: Ecofeminism, Food and Social Justice Seminar 1

You can find the video, photos and Mary’s presentation from the Ecofeminism, Food and Social Justice Seminar 1 here


Sheila Dillon

Title: “Food and Agriculture in the media: Notes from a feminist journalist”

Sheila has been a food journalist for almost three decades, beginning work as an editor and writer at the New York based magazine, Food Monitor. For 20 years she has worked on The Food Programme, first as reporter, then producer and now presenter. Her investigative work has won many awards including the Glaxo Science Prize, Caroline Walker award and several Glenfiddich Awards, most recently for her documentary on the history of the American meat industry. In the late 1980s and 90s she and Derek Cooper covered the breaking scandal of BSE, the rise of GM foods, the growth of the organic movement from muck and magic to multi-million pound business, the birth of the World Trade Organisation and irradiation at a time when those subjects were not even a gleam in a newshound´s eye. Recent programmes on the chocolate industry, fishing practices and food prices carry on the tradition. She is also the creator of Radio 4’s first interactive grocery show, Veg Talk. In January 2008 she was awarded an honorary doctorate by City University for her work, which, the citation says, “has changed the way in which we think about food.”

Mary Mellor

Title: “An Ecofeminist Economics for Sustainability and Social Justice”

This presentation will argue that ecofeminism can provide a framework for sustainable provisioning based on sufficiency (enough) and social justice (an equal right to livelihood). Ecofeminism provides a critique of neoliberal economics because it exposes the linked oppression and marginalisation of ‘women’s work’ (work around the body and sustenance) and the exploitation and degradation of the natural environment. The boundary that excludes both is economic value expressed through the allocation of money: paid versus unpaid or low paid work and nature as a ‘free’ resource. Rather than arguing for the abandonment of money systems the case will be made that money needs to be democratised and re-oriented to public and social benefit.

About the speaker: Mary Mellor is Professor Emeritus at the University of Northumbria, Newcastle upon Tyne. Her early research and activism in the co-operative movement resulted in a co-authored book Worker Co-operatives in Theory and Practice (1988). Later active involvement and research in ecofeminism led to two books Breaking the Boundaries: Towards a Feminist Green Socialism (1992) and Feminism and Ecology (1997). She took part in the anti-nuclear women’s peace camp at Greenham Common and toured Japan talking on Women, Environment and Peace. She also helped set up her University’s Sustainable Cities Research Institute. Concern at the failure of modern economies to recognise unpaid domestic labour and environmental damage resulted in three books: The Politics of Money (co-authored 2002), The Future of Money (2010) and Debt or Democracy (2016).


Source: The Hunting Ground

On February the 27th, the Gender and Sexualities Research Forum hosted a screening of The Hunting Ground – a powerful and harrowing documentary on sexual violence on US campuses and institutional failure to support affected students. Although a difficult watch, those attended were moved by the powerful stories told by survivors and by those campaigning for change. After the film, talks by Alison Phipps (University of Sussex) and Carrie-Anne Myers (City University London) discussed the film and how the issues relate to the UK. You can read more about Alison Phipps insightful review of the film here. Both speakers noted sexual harassment and bullying of women and sexual and gender minorities is rife on British campuses.

There was agreement that universities need to do more at the level of policy and to be part of a broader social effort to dismantle pernicious gendered cultures like “laddism”. We were very happy to hear from an audience member from the Sexual Respect group at the University of Kent about the important work being done there to prevent sexual violence on campus and to better support student survivors.