PhD Student
Cardiff University

I am an ESRC-funded PhD researcher currently researching women local councillors’ experiences, and the subsequent impact on women’s substantive political representation in Welsh local government.

I completed my BScEcon undergraduate degree in Sociology at Cardiff University from 2013-2016, graduating with First Class Honours. I have also since graduated with Distinction in MSc Social Science Research Methods (Social Policy) in 2017.

I am currently a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the School of Social Sciences, teaching on ‘Key Ideas in Social Science’, and ‘Power, Politics and Policy’. I have previously taught seminars for ‘Becoming a Social Scientist’.

My current research interests include Feminisms; Women’s political representation; civic participation; women’s empowerment; political institutions; qualitative methods.
I am also more broadly interested in gender; inequality; civil society; politics; social theory; social movements; and social and public policy.

The current working title of my PhD research is: A critical exploration of the representation of women in Welsh local government.

This study is about the representative link between civil society and local government. Specifically it draws on feminist literature and epistemology surrounding feminist institutionalism, standpoint theory, and concepts of women's political representation in order to explore how, and to what extent, women councillors’ experiences of Welsh local government and, in turn, their desire and ability to represent women, are shaped by gender equality issues. The research will investigate the links between the numbers of female councillors present in local authorities (descriptive representation), the gendered culture and working practices of the local council, most notably in terms of gender (in)equality and gender-based discrimination, and women councillors’ actions and motivations to tackle gender inequality and advance the substantive representation of women. I also aim to give specific attention to women councillor’s perspectives of their experiences of, and views on, women’s ability to progress into leadership positions in local government.

This research will use in-depth qualitative methods (semi-structured interviews) and utilise a case-study design – both are traditionally under-utilised in this field. The study will make an original contribution and further understanding of women’s political representation in local government, and the relationship between gender and the experiences of elected councillors, exploring how gender inequalities are reproduced in small-scale interactions, and wider institutional settings.

My PhD is being supervised by Professor Paul Chaney and Dr Dawn Mannay.