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Lisa Downing, Professor of French Discourses of Sexuality in the Department of Modern Languages and convenor of the cross-University Sexuality and Gender Studies Research Network, has commented on Theresa May’s tearful resignation and what it means for female leadership.

Writing for Huffington Post, Lisa discussed how May’s premiership was haunted by the shadow of her predecessor, the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Margaret Thatcher. Throughout her time in office, May was inevitably compared to Margaret Thatcher and – just as inevitably – she failed to live up to the Iron Lady’s exceptionality. The inability to judge May on her own terms, as a male leader would be judged, suggests that our culture still struggles to think of women in terms of individuality, rather than as representatives of their sex. The article has sparked considerable attention and debate on social media. 

The article draws on Lisa’s research for, and the argument expounded in, her new major book, Selfish Women, which publishes on 13th June.