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Professor, School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics, Queen's University Belfast

Over career, my research has focused on exploring the relationship between gender and democracy. My approach has combined fine-grained indepth case study research (largely Ireland and Northern Ireland) and meduim-scale qualitative comparative studies (mainly European countries). My central research study has led me to devise a new concept 'gender democracy' that is now becoming widely used in the scholarly community to highlight the gendered nature of democratic politics and practices. Accompanying this concept is a measuring tool consisting of fifteen indicators that illuminate the gendered nature of decision-making. The concept, and its measurement, has been rigorously tested in the RECON book report for Europe, and I am now exploring their application in a UK context, national and devolved. The other major strand of my gender and democracy research focuses on political representation, and the causes and consequences of women's political under-representation. This foundational work has in recent years made a significant contribution to public and policy thinking on measures to alleviate the continued under-representation of women in political life, for which I have been cited in the House of Commons and Dail debates. My academic interests also incorporate comparative gender and conflict/peace studies. As Director of Queen's Gender Initiative, I lead institutional actions to support gender equality. Allied to this work, I am team leader of the evaluation team on a EU-funded research project implementing gender equality plans in 5 European universities, in the SAGE project (


  • 2000–2018
    Professor, Queen's University Belfast