Professor Sarah Childs

Personal profile

Sarah Childs is Professor of Politics & Gender at Royal Holloway, University of London in May 2020. Previously she was Professor of Politics & Gender at Birkbeck College, University of London (2017-2020), and the University of Bristol (2009-2014; lecturer and SL 2003-2009). Sarah’s research centres on the theory and practice of women’s representation, gender and political parties, parliaments and institutional change. Key articles have been published in Political Studies, Politics and Gender, Parliamentary Affairs and Party Politics. In 2020, and writing with Karen Celis (VUB), Sarah will publish with Feminist Democratic Representation (Oxford University Press, US). Other books include: New Labour’s Women MPs, 2004; Women and British Party Politics, 2008); Sex Gender and the Conservative Party, with Paul Webb,  2012 and based on three-year ESRC grant; Gender, Conservatism and Representation, and Deeds and Words, 2015, edited with Celis and Campbell respectively, both by ECPR press. For 2020-21 she has been awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship to write a monograph, Building Feminist Institutions, based on her experiences re-gendering the UK House of Commons. In 2015 Sarah received the UK Political Studies Association ‘Special Recognition Award’.

Sarah Childs is an impactful academic: In 2009-10 she was the gender Special Adviser to the UK Parliament’s ‘Speaker’s Conference’ on representation and in 2014 the Special Adviser to the All Party Parliamentary Group, Women in Parliament Inquiry.  Following a secondment to the House of Commons in 2015-2016 funded by the ESRC, Sarah published The Good Parliament (TGP) Report which identified a series of reforms to make the UK House of Commons diversity sensitive. On her recommendation a new group of MPs, The Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion was established by Mr Speaker. In the years since publication of TGP, some 18 recommendations have been adopted; most notably in 2019, the introduction of proxy voting for MPs on ‘babyleave’. Having advised the Reference group during 2016-18, in 2019 Sarah advised the Women and Equalities Committee's inquiry into the UK Gender Sensitive Parliament Audit.

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