Manchester Metropolitan University

Sylvia Pankhurst Gender and Diversity Research Centre

Exploring contemporary issues linked to gender and diversity

The purpose of our Research Centre (which is open to all colleagues across the University) is to provide an intellectual space where scholars with a research interest in gender can meet on a regular basis to discuss their work, identify and explore contemporary issues linked to gender, present ‘works in progress’, network with others interested in gender and diversity research, and develop collaborative interdisciplinary research proposals.

The forum is open to both faculty and to post-graduate students, as well as others who may be interested in specific events.

For further information about the Centre and its activities please contact Katherine Roycroft at

2018 marks the centenary of some women gaining the right to vote. To celebrate this milestone the Sylvia Pankhurst Gender and Diversity Research Centre has organised a variety of events taking place throughout the year, which culminates with the unveiling of Manchester’s statue of Emmeline Pankhurst in December.

Visit the Centenary Microsite

What we do

Questioning gender may lead to inquiries into diversity and (in)equality, and about rights and access to freedoms. In addition, there are intersections with maternity, sexuality, violence and work; each involving a wide range of theoretical ideas.

External partners are often key to the work of this cluster. Partnerships have sparked investigation into issues such as: women's access to services; work-life following maternity leave and support for women who have been raped.

Who we are

  • Professor Julia Rouse (Co-Head)

I am centrally interested in the structures that govern people’s chance of making it in small enterprise, with a particular emphasis on gender. I have conducted qualitative and quantitative longitudinal studies into business start-up programmes for the disadvantaged; my outputs from this include an analysis of the childcare barrier to entrepreneurship.

Recents projects

  • A longitudinal study of entrepreneur maternity experiences.
  • Longitudinal modelling of life course pathways to entrepreneur earnings 
  • Research and impact work into maternity management in small firms. 
  • Qualitative investigation of South Asian migrant women entrepreneurs and associated support systems. 
  • I am exploring a critical realist view of gender that includes soft social constructionism. At the moment I am particularly interested in women's embodiment during maternity. I have three doctoral students researching women’s enterprise.
  • For examples of my recent talks, please visit the following links:
  • How Gender Affects Life Course Pathways to Entrepreneurship
  • When is Enterprise A Viable Option for Women Far from the Labour Market?

(0161) 247 6010


  • Dr Kate Cook (Co-Head)

My research has included: a study of rape appeal cases; an investigation of services available to undocumented women experiencing violence and a study of women’s experiences of and views about rape (with the Campaign to End Rape). I am currently working on further projects concerning: undocumented women; an evaluation of the Freedom Programme (for women living with domestic abuse); the law on female genital mutilation and child sexual abuse cases. I have also volunteered within rape crisis and other women's groups over a 24 years period. I maintain strong links with the women's voluntary sector.

Recent projects

  • Working with researchers from MMU’s Policy Evaluation and Research Unit (PERU) to complete an evaluation of the operation of the Freedom Programme locally, an educational course for women living with domestic abuse.
  • A lead curator of MMU’s new exhibition ‘Are we there yet? 150 years of progress towards equality’ looking at developments in disability, gender, race, sexuality and transgender equality over 150 years.

(0161) 247 2799

  • Professor Stephen Whittle

My Research Interests include theory, policy and practice in jurisprudential and judicial actions relating to Equalities & Human Rights Law, within a national, European and international context particularly concerning matters of sexual orientation and gender identity. This includes feminist and queer analyses of community formation and actions, identity politics, and the relationship between activist, community and the academy in creating new frameworks for real equality in the lives of LGBT people and other people of difference.

(0161) 247 6444

  • Dr Kay Lalor

I am interested in the relationship between international human rights law, and SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) activist movements. I am concerned with the way in which the law can work to control, regulate and even shape complex sexual and gender identities and the problems that this can create for activists and individuals seeking to obtain rights protections without compromising their own understanding of what it means to live sexual and gendered lives. As such I am interested in the way in which feminist conceptions of the body and embodiment can be used to challenge abstracted or universalist discourses of identity and rights.

Recent projects

  • Working on a contribution to the Women’s Legal Landmarks project. The project is led by Professor Rosemary Auchmuty (Reading University) and Professor Erika Rackley (Birmingham University) and celebrates the centenary of women’s formal entry into the legal profession. It brings together feminist scholars, historians, lawyers and activists in order to identify key landmarks in women’s legal history in the UK.
  • A publication for the Institute of Development Studies featuring contributions from participants in the international symposium ‘Sexuality and Social Justice: What’s law got to do with it?’
  • I am also a member of the Advisory Committee for the AHRC Regulating Time Network, an interdisciplinary network of scholars interested in the relationship between law and dominant concepts of time.

(0161) 247 2438

  • Dr Melanie Latham

I have worked at the Law School since November 1998, and was made a Reader in Law in 2003. My research interests lie in the area of gender and health care; cosmetic surgery (see the Beauty Demands Project) and body modification; aesthetics; reproductive rights; autonomy; feminist ethics; comparative law and politics; French culture; and sustainability. I am a keen member of the Feminist Research Cluster in the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences Research.

(0161) 247 2792

  • Dr Andrew Rowe

My interest in gender stems partly from my research into female expatriates and how they learned to perform in multiple social worlds – looking at those taking the traditional and non-traditional expatriate routes. In my teaching, I have covered gender in a number of units relating from OB undergraduate through to postgraduate Management Development.

(0161) 247 3746

  • Dr John Simister

I am interested in various economics-related aspects of gender, including women’s control of household spending (and women’s empowerment improving welfare of children in the household); education empowering women; men’s share of housework; equal pay for women; Gender-Based Violence; and Female Genital Mutilation. Most of my publications relate to poor (“Third World”) countries, but the equal pay paper was on UK. I often analyse data (e.g. from government websites). I would like to write joint-authored papers with other members of the gender centre, if we can find common interests.

(0161) 247 3899

  • Dr Annapurna Waughray

Dr Annapurna Waughray is a Reader in Human Rights, where she teaches Human Rights Law, International Law, International Criminal Law and European Union Law. In the human rights course, this includes content on gender violence and sexual violence in armed conflict.

Annapurna studied languages at Cambridge University and then worked in the NGO and public sectors primarily on health and women’s rights and with migrant and refugee populations. She is also a new editor of the Asian Yearbook of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law.

As a feminist, gender issues run through all of Annapurna’s work. She is currently writing a piece comparing legal responses to lynching in the US and atrocities in India, which is a highly gendered topic.

(0161) 247 6449

  • Jamie Atkinson

My interests are: women’s position in the labour market; the career choices and career trajectories of women who return to paid work on a part-time basis following maternity leave; whether laws such as the right to request flexible working and sex discrimination are effective in enabling women to combine paid work with caring for children and in preventing discrimination; and to what extent working culture and practice inhibit the effective dissemination of these laws.

Current projects

I’m submitting bids for an Manchester Met Business School Small Research Grant and a British Academy Small Grant.

(0161) 247 6445

  • Tracy Bingham

My interest in gender stems from studying Autism Spectrum Conditions. I am particularly interested in how cognitive theories and tools developed for defining and exploring Autism Spectrum Conditions could be utilised within a variety of settings to understand sex differences witnessed.

(0161) 247 3975

  • Angela Byrne

I am currently completing my PhD which explores the representation of males in skincare advertisements. This research looks at the symbolic capital that the products offer males and additionally explores the influences surrounding advertisers (who are mostly male) in their specific approach towards mediating products previously within the female sector to advocate these as male appropriate.

(0161) 247 6068

  • Rosalyn Marron

I am interested in how women textually illustrate the necessity of constantly rewriting national narratives and in so doing enable their audiences to read ideas of identity, nation and nationhood in fresh, innovative and divergent ways. Since devolution there has been a radical shift in how people in Wales and Scotland see their culture and women writers in both nations have been reflecting the far-reaching changes that have occurred locally, nationally and globally, articulating new ways of being that had hitherto been largely absent from their nations’ literatures. I am also interested in the performance of our cultural roles and how these are ‘constructed through language and in discourse’.

(0161) 247 3690

  • Geraldine McCusker

I am interested in feminist research methods and feminist pedagogy.

My recent conference papers include:

  • Feminist Praxis: Using Feminism to Support Social Work Students to Develop Awareness of Violence Against Women presented at Working toward Women’s Freedom from Violence conference at Chester University, March 2016
  • Feminist Praxis: Using Feminism to Support Social Work Students to Develop Anti-Oppressive and Anti-Discriminatory Perspectives presented at Chester University 5th International Conference on Sociology and Social Work, August 2015

(0161) 247 2328

  • James Rattenbury

I am interested in social theories of learning and notions of professional identity. This may include gender issues around the practice and career trajectories of female accountants. I am a feminist activist, law teacher and researcher. I am centrally interested in the impact of sexual and physical violence on women and girls’ lives.

(0161) 247 3768

  • Natalie Rock

My interests are in occupational segregation, gender stereotyping and the relationship between two. I’ve just published a sociological paper on the phenomenon of the Manny/Hairy Poppins – the male (paid) child caregiver and I am currently working on developing papers from my PhD thesis which is concerned with gender segregation in entrepreneurship. In terms of methods, I have a keen interest in using new media technologies to support data collection and analysis, and am a member of the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR).

(0161) 247 6046

  • Catherine Shephard

As a non-practising solicitor and lecturer, my primary areas of research expertise are the legal services sector (management and paralegals) and legal education (skills and training review). I am also interested in law and psychology (coercive control, emotional abuse and personality types). As a member of the Centre, I am interested in analysing all of these areas of interest through the lens of gender.

(0161) 247 3058

  • Krystal Wilkinson

I am currently completing my doctoral research study into work-life balance for young (24–44 years) managers and professionals who live alone and do not have children. Whilst there was no specific gender focus for the research at the outset, gender has become a key issue in the understanding of the findings. I have also completed a knowledge-exchange placement with a company called An Inspirational Journey, which seeks to support high-achieving women and address female under-representation at the most senior levels in British organisations.

(0161) 247 3968


  • Lucy Crompton

I’m a family law academic with an interest in the gender implications of adult relationships. My particular areas of interest are financial provision on divorce, LGBT issues and domestic violence. I am currently researching the courts’ approach to dealing with the long term financial impact of a career sacrifice by a spouse, when making financial orders on divorce. 

(0161) 247 3045


Inter-Faculty Members

  • Professor Yvette Solomon (Education and Social Research Institute)

Yvette works in STEM education research and has a long standing interest in gender and participation in mathematics from primary to university level. She also researches in the general area of gender and STEM, including the development of professional identities in medicine.

(0161) 247 2567

  • Dr Martin King (Social Care & Social Work)

Martin is Head of Social Care in the Department of Social Care and Social Work at MMU. His PhD and subsequent research are based around social changes for men in the 1960s. An example of this work can be found in his article for The Independent. In addition, Martin has published work around masculinity and crime, and will soon begin a knowledge exchange project around grandparenting and the 0–5 school readiness agenda.

(0161) 247 2541

  • Dr Emma Turley (Research Institute for Health and Social Change)

Emma’s research interests are around gender, particularly the experiences of girls and girlhood, feminism, LGBTQI+ psychology, sexualities and erotic minorities, and the ways that these are understood and experienced from a non-pathologising perspective. She is also interested in beauty work and appearance, media depictions of women and fat studies. Other specialist areas of interest include qualitative research methods, especially phenomenological psychology and experiential research, and the use of innovative data collection techniques.

  • Fionna Barber (Manchester School of Art)

Fionna Barber is Reader in Art History at the Manchester School of Art whose current research is on the relationship between gender, traumatic memory and art practice, particularly in an Irish context, in addition to a long-standing interest in post-conflict politics of representation.

Recent projects

  • Joint organiser of the Art and Geopolitical Borders Symposium on 20 November 2015 at Cinema 2, Cornerhouse.
  • Co-developing an exhibition called Con and Eva: the lives of Constance de Markiewicz and Eva Gore-Booth. In 2016 (the centenary of the Easter Rising) the exhibition will tour in venues throughout Ireland, and possibly England too.

(0161) 247 1940


  • Dr Natalie Hammond (Research Institute for Health and Social Change)
  • Janet Batsleer (Education and Social Research Institute)
  • Marian Foley (Social Care & Social Work)
  • Desdemona McCannon (Manchester School of Art)

Current Manchester Met Collaborations

We are currently working closely with academics and researchers from Manchester School of Art (Humanities Faculty) around a number of themes, including:

  • Violence against women
  • Conflict and resolution
  • Human rights and representation
  • Exploring art as memorial and redemption

We aim to stimulate debate by showcasing our research to as wide an audience as possible via guest artist talks and workshops, partnerships with schools and young people, film screenings, developing partnerships with creative industries in the North West.


Generating Routes for Women’s Leadership Project (GROWL)

We are launching a project that will open a conversation with a range of organisations in the North about generating routes for women’s leadership. We are keen to collect contacts from anyone interested be they a woman leader or an interested organisation.

Please visit the GROWL website for more information.

Follow us on Twitter at @mmu_sylvia

Follow us on Twitter at @mmu_sylvia.

Sylvia Pankhurst Gender and Diversity Research Centre Blog

Helen Pankhurst


Helen Pankhurst is a women’s rights activist and senior advisor to CARE International, working in the UK and in Ethiopia.

Find out more 

Contact Us

For more information

Centre Heads: Prof Julia Rouse and Dr Kate Cook

Knowledge Hub,
Manchester Metropolitan University
Business School,
All Saints Campus,
Oxford Road,
Manchester, M15 6BH,
United Kingdom

Email: &