Skip to main content

On International Women’s Day, we reflect on the relationship between gender, power and the law, and on the tools necessary to bring about a better world for women and girls.

Photo of Birmingham Law School's research away day with Dr Emma Oakley

Birmingham Law School is a centre of expertise in gender, justice and the law, so this is a snapshot of just some of our most recent work in the field of gender, law and sexuality. It includes academic, policy and activist writing, as well as writing for students and the public.

Dr Atina Krajewska specialises in human rights law, health and medicine. Her most recent work, published in Social & Legal Studies examines the position of single men who wish to become single fathers through surrogacy.

Dr Charlotte Bendall is an expert in the law of financial relief on relationship breakdown. Her recent work with Rosie Harding explores how heteronormativity shapes same-sex couples’ experience of dissolution of formally recognised relationships.

Dr Emma Oakley is a scholar of everyday legal decision-making, both lay and practitioner. Her most recent published work uses feminist theories of vulnerability to challenge expectations of professional lawyers’ independence. It is published here.

Professor Fiona de Londras and Mairead Enright are leading voices on Irish abortion law reform, and were active in the recent successful campaign to repeal the 8th Amendment. Their book, Repealing the 8th is available to read open-access here.

Professor Janine Natalya Clark, together with research fellows Dr Eunice Apio and Dr Yoana Fernanda Nieto-Valdivieso, is currently working to develop a new model of transitional justice that fosters resilience in survivors of war rape and sexual violence. Her ‘Stories from the Field’ blog documents the progress of the project in Bosnia Herzegovina, Colombia and Uganda.

Professor Janine Natalya Clark at the Birmingham Law School research away day

Professor Kate Bedford’s research focuses on how law, regulation and governance shape economies, societies and subjectivities, especially in terms of gender and sexuality. Her recent work is on everyday gambling, especially bingo, and the working class women who play it. In this photo essay we meet some bingo regulars, and learn about the social nature of the bingo hall, and the role of cash within it.

Professor Lisa Webley works on the regulation of the legal profession, on equality and diversity in the legal profession and on access to justice and the rule of law. She recently contributed a chapter on the legal professions to Great Debates in Gender and the Law.

Professor Lorraine Talbot specialises in contextual and critical approaches to company law. You can read her recent work on barriers to justice for women workers in the Bangladeshi garment industry here.

Dr Meghan Campbell’s work explores how the international human rights system can best respond to gender inequality and poverty. Her new book is Women, Poverty, Equality: The Role of CEDAW. Together with Dr Ben Warwick, she wrote this recent submission to the UN Independent Expert on Foreign Debt and Human Rights, on the impact of economic reform policies on women’s human rights.

Dr Rehana Parveen’s research is on women’s experience of shariah-based mediation and arbitration tribunals in family disputes. In recent work she examines women’s engagement with the Islamic Judiciary Board in Birmingham.

Professor Rosie Harding writes on the regulation of caring and intimate relationships. Her recent book, Duties to Care takes a relational approach to the law on dementia, and to carers’ experience of that law.

This research sits within the Law School’s wider commitment to celebrate women as legal actors and leaders. This year alone, for example, the Law School has held a range of events foregrounding women’s contribution to legal change. The Holdsworth Club welcomed Lady Hale to deliver a speech on women’s rights on the occasion of the Law School’s 90th anniversary. The Law School hosted a performance of the play The Disappearance of Miss Bebb, followed by a conference on diversity in the legal profession. Under the auspices of CEPLER, our students and staff have heard from inspiring women in law including Marcia EcclestoneHamim Hamza and Sue Atkins. Later this month, we will welcome Professor Penny Andrews to discuss race, inclusion and excellence in Law Schools.

International Women’s Day is a good time to reflect on what we have achieved, and to commit to building on the Law School’s culture of visibility for women in law well into the future.

Birmingham Law School is working towards an Athena Swan Bronze award.