International Women’s Day 2017

The theme of International Women’s Day 2017 was to Be Bold for Change. All members of the IPED board are committed to gender equality, particularly intersectional approaches to advancing women’s participation in public life.

Susan Sayce attended a ResNet event for IWD at the University of East Anglia, where the theme was inclusive change especially for disabled women. More information on ResNet can be found here


Maria Tsourfouli (University of Wolverhamption) discussed, along with, Dr Subashini Suresh and Andrea Mondokova, an intersectional approach to gender equity approaches in higher education: ‘Being a woman/man and a migrant in Higher Education: Double exclusions?’. This presentation forms part of a week long celebration of IWD alongside the University of Wolverhampton’s Athena Swan work.

Chrissi McCarthy was very busy on IWD, giving two talks. The first was for the National Association of Women in Construction and a second for the University of Reading

Kate Sang (Heriot Watt University) presented at the Scottish Young Planners’ IWD event (Royal Town Planners’ Institute in Scotland). Kate’s presentation proposed intersectionality as a tool for bold and far reaching change, asking what would our built environment look like if more women were in charge of its design and build.

We hope you had a fantastic IWD and look forward to a year of bold change!


Call for rapid responses to Trump and Women’s March

Call for rapid responses to Trump and Women’s March

The Women’s March on 21 January 2017 was conceived and initiated in the time between the US election result of 8 November 2016 and the 20 January presidential inauguration of Donald Trump. US-centred, it also saw global impact with over 600 marches in dozens of countries. Estimates of participation number as high as 4.5 million people. Trump, his close advisors and cabinet are regarded by many commentators to reflect a new far-right or illiberal leadership previously unknown in the US, with potentially radical national and international effects. The cabinet is currently the least diverse in terms of ‘race’ and gender of recent times, and has rapidly instituted a growing list of measures targeting marginalised groups such as The Global Gag Rule, the removal of the Affordable Care Act and bans on refugees from predominately Muslim countries.

We welcome submissions which address the Women’s March and the Trump administration. We have provided a list of questions which may inspire commentary, but broader analyses are also welcome.

Submissions may include blog posts, research agendas, activist perspectives, creative writing, policy analyses or position pieces. We expect submissions to range from 1500 to 8000 words. Submissions may be in English, French, Greek, Spanish, German, BSL, American Sign Language or International Sign Language (for sign language submissions please contact the editors first, so we can ensure appropriate support). We ask that all submissions include a title and abstract in English as well as the original language. Submissions will be reviewed by the editorial team, and where appropriate subject to a rapid peer review. IPED is fully open access with authors retaining full copyright of their work. To submit please visit this link

In your covering email please note that your submission is for the Call for rapid responses to Trump and Women’s March.

Deadline – 27th February. Planned publication end of March 2017.

Please direct queries to: Christopher Lyon or Kate Sang


  1. What is the potential for intersectional approaches to scholarship and feminist activism to provide a robust and effective response to the rise of autocratic leaders such as President Donald Trump?
  2. Can the Women’s March of 21 January 2017 act as a catalyst for progressive and inclusive social change, and in what ways?
  3. How can intersectionality be used to provide a basis for social change and resistance to encroaching attacks on human rights? Where are the pitfalls and limits of intersectionality both as a theoretical construct and a basis for social change?
  4. Does the Women’s March reflect a different form of protest or action beyond normative activism? How can we understand the Women’s March in the context of broader debates around violent and non-violent protest?
  5. What can the Women’s March learn from previous social justice protests, for example, the Civil Rights movement, the women’s Suffrage movement?
  6. What role did technology play in organising this march? What might this mean for its potential?
  7. Where does The Women’s March sit with other forms of protest, for example, Black Lives Matter and the North Dakota Pipeline?
  8. What are the lessons for efforts outside of the US, for example, responses to Brexit and the rise of far-right politics in France and other parts of Europe and Australasia?
  9. The massive scale and global nature of the protest meant that it likely included many people who would not normally identify with or participate in protest activism. What does this level of participation mean for intersectional discourses and practices that normally define participation in this form of activism?
  10. How does the social justice focus of the Women’s March connect with other highly controversial Trump administration policies such as those related to climate change, international trade, and toward Russia and China?


Photography courtesy of Danielle Eiseman (Chicago March) and Kate Sang (Edinburgh March)

Call for papers on ‘Climate change and intersectionality’

The Open Access journal Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Equality and Diversity has opened a call for submissions to a themed issue on ‘Climate change and intersectionality’.

Editors: Christopher Lyon Kate Sang Susan Sayce  Nisha Onta 

The effects of climate change are not felt equally across national contexts, with poorer countries facing more immediate and stronger effects. Global efforts to address climate change have recognised that gender is a factor in both the impacts of climate change and adaptation and mitigation. However, gender still remains peripheral to climate policy making, regardless of the gender composition of policy making teams (Mangusdottir & Kronsell, 2014). Further, there is increasing understanding of the importance of working with indigenous peoples and knowledge. This has been highlighted in terms of policy making, and media representations of climate change (Roosvall and Tegelberg, 2015).

Social identities cannot be viewed in isolation. Efforts to understand how multiple identities may affect an individual’s experience have been advanced by drawing on intersectionality. Developed by Kimberle Crenshaw (1991) intersectionality does not aim to add together sources of discrimination or oppression, rather how these sources interact to inform experience (Hancock, 2007). Analyses of intersectionality are moving towards understanding how privilege and disadvantage may interact (Yuval-Davis, 2006: 201). Early steps have been made to understand, from an intersectional perspective, how communities respond to climate change (Vinyeta et al., 2015). There is considerable scope for further studies which can adopt intersectionality in order to provide nuanced and contextualised understandings of how to best respond to the threats posed by climate change.

This themed issue aims to provide a forum for the discussion of how intersecting social identities can be incorporated into climate change research, in order to provide a more holistic understanding of how we can respond to the global threat of climate change.

Empirical and conceptual submissions are not limited to, but may wish to consider:

  •   How intersecting identities, such as age, race, sexuality, gender, religion and disability inform experiences of working within organisations dedicated to mitigating the effects of climate change.
  •   How are intersecting social identities, (re)produced within climate change organisations, policies and discourses? What are the effects of these (re)productions on efforts to mitigate climate change and its effects?
  •   Analysis of the dynamics of intersecting identities for understanding and mitigating the effects of climate change.
  •   How incorporating methodological approaches which enable the inclusion of temporal, material, discourse and contextual elements may help to reveal the intersectional dynamics of climate change.
  •   How intersectional understandings can be used to inform climate policy, and associated practice?
  •   Given the particular local effects of climate change, to what extent (and in what ways) are global organisations adapting their policies to local concerns. This may include working relationships with indigenous peoples.
  •   What do indigenous, and other non Western perspectives, contribute academic debates on climate change? Are these perspectives welcomed?
  •   How, and to what extent, do new initiatives such as Green/Sustainable Human Resource Management create opportunities for organisations to challenge existing patterns of privilege/oppression?
  • What does climate change mean for intersectional understandings of identity?

We are keen for this themed issue to embrace diverse ways of disseminating knowledge. If you have a submission idea which is broader than that mentioned above, please get in touch.

Submissions may be full research papers (approx 8k words), research notes (up to 5k words), book reviews, pedagogical reflections, activist and practitioner research/policy analyses, position pieces or student essays. Submissions will be subject to a double blind peer review. IPED is an OA journal and authors retain the rights to their submitted work. Submissions may be in English, Thai, Greek or German. If you wish to submit in another language (including American, British or International Sign Language) please feel free to contact us.

The deadline is 28th February 2017. Please  contact  Christopher Lyon , Kate SangSusan Sayce or Nisha Onta, if you have any questions.

Submissions can be submitted via – in your covering letter, please clearly indicate that your submission is for the themed issue ‘Climate change and intersectionality’.

Fully funded PhD scholarship

We are delighted to share news of a fully funded PhD scholarship with one of our board members: Dr Maria Tsourfouli at the University of Wolverhampton.

Title of Study:- ‘Facilitating career development of women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM): Towards increasing understanding, participation progression and retention’.

Enquiries to Dr Maria Tsouroufli

Location: Wolverhampton/Walsall.

Funding amount: The studentships consist of full UK/EU tuition fees, as well as a Doctoral Stipend of £13,750 for 3 years.

Hours: Full-time.

Full details can be seen here.

Joan Acker 1924-2016

It is with sadness that we acknowledge the death of Joan Acker a Professor from the University of Oregon in the US on the 22nd June 2016. Joan was a renowned feminist, sociologist, educator, researcher and writer who carried on working in her eighties.

I had the pleasure of working with Joan as guest editor on compiling a special edition of articles for the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Journal in 2012 for an edition that celebrated her contribution to theorising gender and organisation.   What was exciting about working with Joan was her generosity to other academics, as she reviewed the other academics contribution for this journal which underpinned her claim that academic dialogue is needed to bridge the generations between academics. In her work on gendered processes in organisations she outlined the reoccurring need to be reflexive about inequalities regimes and new patterns of gender, class and race inequalities. It the continuing existence of these gendered, racial and class sub-structures that continue to make discussion about outcomes linked to the intersectionality of class, gendered and racial processes relevant to theorists today.

What came through from Joan was her humanity whether it was towards her family, or to other activists or academics.  She was always an approachable feminist academic who was driven by the belief that academics in the field of equality, diversity and inclusion can make a difference. She was supportive but clear-sighted when advocating change.  Even in 2011 she considered that there was still work to be done by academics to challenge ideas of gender neutrality within the idea of the abstract worker as well as recognising the complexity of other competing forms of inequalities in periods of crisis.

She will be much missed.

Dr Susan Sayce

Co-editor Interdisciplinary perspectives on Equality and Diversity

Norwich Business School, University of East Anglia

Women’s careers in museums

Women’s careers in Scottish museums – reflections and a call for interview participants from Steven Glasgow 2nd year PhD student, Intercultural Research Centre, Heriot Watt University

Although there is a small body of research exploring women’s careers in museums, the sector has largely escaped analysis of its gender (in)equality. In this blog post I discuss the background to my PhD research, which is funded by the Moffatt Charitable Trust. I begin by setting out the limited existing information on gender and careers in museums, moving to a call for interview participants.

Museum employment does not spring to mind when people talk of gendered workplaces but research shows that whilst women are well represented in the lower levels of museum employment, some struggle to progress to higher positions (Schwarzer, 2007). When confronted with this, it is puzzling that the sector has largely escaped a gendered lens. That is not to say that there is not research on the employment of women in museums. Levin (2010) provides a collection of articles, case study and essays in Gender, Sexuality and Museums, but there is much scope for further research. The focus of my research is Scotland, there were 27.65 million visits to around the 460 museums in 2014, generating an economic impact of £890.88 million (MGS, 2015). The sector also contributes 3,552 paid roles and 4,667 voluntary positions (MGS, 2015). Women comprise a majority of employees in UK museums whilst making up 84% of museum studies students and having a dominant presence in early-career roles which has led to employer ‘concern’ that few men are in these positions (Davies, 2007).

The lack of gender focus may come from the problem not being sufficiently recognised by governing bodies, equality measures in the sector in recent years have been mainly focused on class and ethnicity. Commissioned reports by the Museums Association on workplace diversity in museums such as Culture Change, Dynamism and Diversity (Davies & Wilkinson, 2011) and Diversify: Reflections and Recommendations (Shaw, 2013) make little reference to gender as a diversity issue. However, research has indicated women face their own difficulties, for example, they can struggle for acceptance in directorships (Adams, 2010) and that there can be pervasive organisational structures that hinder women (Turner, 2002).

My research focuses on the experiences of women in the early-career museum professions, for example, junior curators, educators and exhibitioners. These occupations are competitive spaces for employment despite guideline salaries from the Museums Association (2009) ranging from £16,000 – £23,750, which are comparatively low next to other sectors. The Museums Association (2015) note the strong demand for these positions has meant that a postgraduate education and relevant volunteering experience are needed for most types of entry level position. With much unpaid volunteer work and the cost of a postgraduate degree, access to employment is weighted in favour of affluent individuals or those who can depend financially on others.

Accessing early-career positions is difficult, but progressing in them presents its own challenges. Souhami (2013) in interviews with four women in early career positions note vague career structures, guidance, training or job stability. The struggle to progress for two of the women has led them to enrol on PhD courses as they believe it will place them better to progress. These clear issues affecting early-career museum professionals need to be further unpicked and understood, and according to Souhami, have rarely been heard. Further to this, there is little research that connects these early-career experiences to gender. Through researching the lived experiences of women in early-career museum professions it is aimed for a greater understanding of these gender issues and ultimately for the study to inform future gender policy. As such, I invite anyone in a paid early-career position in Scotland who would like to take part in an interview for my study to contact me ( for a discussion on your experiences. My research has received ethical approval from Heriot Watt University. I anticipate interviews lasting approximately one hour, and will be an opportunity to inform policy and academic debates in the sector.

Reference List

Adams, R. (2010). The New Girl in the Old Boy Network: Elizabeth Esteve-Coll at the Victoria & Albert Museum. In A. K. Levin (Ed.), Gender, Sexuality and Museums: A Routledge Reader (pp. 28-42). Oxon: Routledge.

Davies, M. (2007). The Tomorrow People: Entry to the museum workforce: University of East Anglia.

Davies, M., & Wilkinson, H. (2011). Culture Change, Dynamism and Diversity. London: Museums Association.

Levin, A. K. (2010). Gender, sexuality and museums: a Routledge reader: Routledge.

MGS. (2015a). 2014 Visit Estimates for Scotland’s Museums and Galleries Sector. Edinburgh: Museums Galleries Scotland.

MuseumsAssociation. (2009). Salary Guidelines 2009. UK: Museums Association.

MuseumsAssociation. (2015). Getting a First Job.   Retrieved 01/11/2015, from

Schwarzer, M. (2007). Women in the temple-Gender and leadership in museums. Museum News, 86(3), 56-64.

Shaw, L. (2013). Diversify: Reflections and Recommendations. London: Museums Association.

Souhami, R. (2013). The Low Down on the Life of Early Career Museum Professionals. from

Turner, V. (2002). The Factors Affecting Women’s Success in Museum Careers: A Discussion of the Reasons More Women Do Not Reach the Top, and of Strategies to Promote their Future Success. Journal of Conservation and Museum Studies8.


Apprenticeships; only those from stable family homes need apply

Apprenticeships; only those from stable family homes need apply

 Susan Sayce, Norwich Business School, University of East Anglia:

Connor Green’s IPED student essay on apprenticeship and inclusion   confirms that apprenticeship schemes are a highly topical subject in the UK. The debate on apprenticeship schemes has been fuelled by political parties in the run-up to the general election of 2015. The Conservative party have promised to create 3 million new apprenticeship schemes, whilst the Labour party have promise 80,000 new apprenticeship schemes each year (Wintour, 2015).  Apprenticeships are seen as a key route into employment that connects with the requirement of young people to engage in education and training till they are 18.  Thus new apprenticeships still include traditional skill training and employment recognition but off-the job training offered by colleges and private providers, funding to contribute to off-the-job training costs and an industry wide framework based on NVQs

As the OECD points in its skills report apprenticeships are a good fit for young people who may have the qualifications for HE but who consider that HE is not for them, and for other young people who are less academic and want to learn technical skills while working. It also stresses the need for apprenticeships to be opened up to women and disadvantaged young people generally. This support for apprenticeships is good news for employers who remain committed to training and developing a new generation of young people with key technical skills, which is fundamental to good quality apprenticeships schemes. But the OECD also stress the importance of good governance to avoid young people being exploited as cheap labour, which may be a risk as apprentice routes are widened in the UK to include new industries and new sectors.

As apprenticeship schemes expand from their traditional heartlands of construction and manufacturing to include public services such as local government, finance and even estate agencies. There has been one area that has been politically contentious and that is the low level of minimum pay for apprentices, which is set by government. There has always been an element of cost sharing re training among employers and apprentices but there have been concerns about the low level of apprenticeship wages and the threat of exploitation.

For example the former business secretary Vince Cable has been particularly vocal in support for a rise in the apprentice national minimum wage (Horsley, 2015). Additionally trade unions have expressed concern at the level of apprenticeship pay which they label as exploitative (BBC, 2015). Trade unions bodies including the national union of stduents also express concern that apprentice schemes are not fully inclusive for young people due to the low level of pay (NUS, 2015). On the 17th March 2015 the UK coalition government announced a 20% increase in the apprenticeship national minimum wage which took effect in October 2015.

Minimum Wage Levels

Year 21and over 18 to20 Under 18 Apprentice*
2015 (current rate)     £6.70     £5.30        £3.87          £3.30
2014     £6.50     £5.13        £3.79          £2.73

*This rate is for apprentices aged 16 to 18 and those aged 19 or over who are in their first year. All other apprentices are entitled to the National Minimum Wage for their age. Https://

However, despite these rises Green (2015)  indicates that the OECD is right to highlight governance as an issue with apprenticeships.  A National Union of Students (2015) report states that the apprentice wage is not enough to cover basic living expenses such as travel, rent and food. In order to cover these expenses many apprentices are having to seek additional part-time employment. It is argued the exploitative wage results in potential apprentices from disadvantaged backgrounds being excluded from the scheme due to the unaffordability. London Council (2012) reported that many young people would in fact be better off receiving benefits than partaking in an apprenticeship scheme. It is also argued the low wage of apprentice scheme creates an inclusivity to those with financially secure parental support, with low income families being unable to afford the resulting loss of child benefit. Also there is evidence Winterbotham et al. (2014) found that 24% of 16-18 year old apprentices are paid below their entitled minimum wage rate, a worrying trend when the level of pay is below the minimum wage. And this was the case with one apprentice that Green interviewed.  Furthermore there is unequal apprenticeship wage distribution the TUC (2013) reported in (2013) that women had no representation in the highest paid apprenticeship occupations such as electricians, whose training has a higher cost premium.  However it has to be recognised that the importance of pay to some apprentices is low because it is offset by training and development opportunities.

The apprentices all had negative perceptions of the apprentice national minimum wage. In regard to the apprentice national minimum wage as Green’s interviews (2015) outline the apprentices found travel and living costs difficult to meet: “It is barely enough to pay the bus fares to work each week…” (Apprentice 1, Sales) “No one could possibly live on £2 something an hour” which was the figure when the apprentice was interviewed. (Apprentice 3, Manufacturing).

A politician who was interviewed accepted that the pay was low but that was why the level was reviewed each year. A manufacturer who employed apprentices picked up on the politicians point about affordability “I recognise it is low…but we must consider the costs”. But this viewpoint was not shared by all the employers with an insurer who pays well above the minimum rate confirming that they didn’t think the low levels were fair.



A notion of unfairness emerged when talking to the apprentices as one apprentice who received over £7.00 a hour indicated with the low rate. It’s ridiculous… it takes the piss out of people” (Apprentice 2, Insurance).The apprentices all had negative perceptions of the apprentice national minimum wage. In regard to the apprentice national minimum wage the apprentices stated that travel and living costs were difficult to meet because they were barely able to pay the bus fares to work and that anyone who had to live on ‘£2, something an hour’ would struggle to keep a car on the road that would get them to work.


It was clear that the apprentices were dependent on family support because of the low levels of pay. For example, a manufacturing apprentice made reference to how cautious he/she had to be when spending and not living at home was not an option. It was the only way to afford the apprenticeship. A hairdressing apprentice considered her/himself to be entirely financially dependent on parental handouts: “I’m not financially dependent on myself at all really… Mum and Dad pay for everything” (Apprentice 4, Hairdressing).


The role of family support in apprenticeships was also mentioned by the trade union representative who viewed it as crucial for successfully completing an apprenticeship scheme because without it they “can’t even get to work” (Union representative). Furthermore the plastics manufacturer who ran 20 apprenticeships regarded parental support as vital to apprenticeship schemes: “It is important with apprenticeship schemes that you have a stable, supportive family” (Plastics manufacturer).


Based on an analysis of Green’s research this suggests that apprenticeships in the UK are viewed as tenable only when apprentices have stable family backgrounds and support, which as the OECD report highlights is not helping those from disadvantaged backgrounds who have more fragmented families. There also needs to be a recognition of the extent of financial dependency on parents and guardians in being able to pursue an apprenticeship scheme and this is clear in the government web-site which has an information site for parents and guardians.  This is a point that needs to be considered politically as there is an assumption that all young people have access to this support, which is not always the case and that young people from more challenging home environment will self-select themselves out of consideration and find themselves excluded from this type of work thereby continuing to perpetuate wider social exclusion for those from unstable family backgrounds.