Dr Dawn England PhD, MBA, SFHEA

Dr Dawn England

School of Education
Associate Professor
Head of Full Time Postgraduate Taught Programmes in the School of Education

Contact details

School of Education
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dawn England is an Associate Professor in the School of Education at the University of Birmingham. Previously, she was Head of the Dubai Education Department at Birmingham University Dubai and served as Dubai programme director on the MA Education (Leadership) programme and as Senior Lecturer for Educational Leadership.  

Dawn’s scholarship has been guided by the notion that where a child is born should not dictate their educational opportunities afforded to them, and her work has pursued how to understand barriers to education globally with a key focus on gender, parental beliefs, and peer experiences. She has been involved in research projects in 17 countries across 4 continents and was awarded the US National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship for her international work studying the influences of gender development on education internationally. She is committed to advancing transnational education with a focus on educational leadership and social justice.


  • SFHEA, Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy 2020
  • MBA, Hult International Business School, 2016
  • PhD (2016) Arizona State University
  • MSc in Family and Human Development, Arizona State University, 2012


Dawn graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Connecticut, USA, publishing her undergraduate thesis on “Gender Role Portrayals and the Disney Princesses” which remains her most cited work to date. She went on to study an MSc and PhD in the same field at Arizona State University, USA, under the supervision of Dr. Carol Martin, studying the influence of gender development on the lives of children in school. Her PhD thesis examined the effects of gender on the primary school graduation rates in a rural community in Guatemala that received significant educational intervention support, aiming to understand the efficacy of such interventions. This led her to pursue an MBA at Hult International Business School in London to further understand how to manage and evaluate large scale international interventions, with a focus on those involving sustainability and corporate social responsibility. From there, she served as the Academic Lead on the Student Attainment Project at the University of West London, an OfS funded intervention to improve BAME attainment across UK higher education. She then moved to Dubai to study the influence of gender on education and to establish high quality educational leadership training programmes in the region.

Dawn maintains professional memberships with international organizations including the Gulf Comparative Education Society, the Comparative and International Education Society, the International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development, and the Society for Research in Child Development. 


Dawn teaches across a range of programmes with a focus on Educational Leadership, Teacher Training, and School Improvement, as well as International Development and Education Policy.

Previous courses taught include: Educational Leadership and Management, Teaching and Learning Pedagogy and Practice, Comparative Education, Research Methods, Reflective Professional Practice in Education, Corporate Governance and Corporate Social Responsibility

Doctoral research

PhD title
Family and Human Development, specialization in Measurement and Statistical Analysis


Current research initiatives are guided by evaluating educational intervention efficacy internationally and understanding the impacts of the school system on children, teachers, and school leaders from a comparative education lens.

Current research projects include: 

  • A longitudinal study examining influences on intervention success for elementary school attainment in rural Guatemala
  • An international comparison of the influence of gender and cultural norms on academic and peer experiences at university, with samples in the US, the Netherlands, Canada, the UAE and the UK
  • Leadership for Social Justice in Transnational Education: Evidence and Voices from Practitioners
  • Curriculum Fidelity in International Settings: Post-Colonial Perspectives
  • An International Action Research Network: Empowering Teachers to Drive School Improvement

Other activities

Dawn maintains an active international education outreach and service profile, with a few examples including serving as:  

  •  Co-chair of the Communications Committee for the International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development, 2021 ongoing
  • Advisory committee for the UAE Ministry of Education and the National Qualification Association to review the new National Professional Standards for Early Childhood Educators, in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Education Council and the Knowledge and Human Development Authority, 2020
  • Seminar Chair for the Symposium on Equity and Justice and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child at the Society for Research in Child Development conference in 2017.


Recent publications


Clarke, LL, Hine, B, England, D, Flew, PPMS, Alzahri, R, Juriansz, SN & Garcia, MJBC 2024, 'The gendered behaviors displayed by Disney protagonists', Frontiers in Sociology, vol. 9, 1338900. https://doi.org/10.3389/fsoc.2024.1338900

Anderson, PJ, England, DE & Barber, LD 2022, 'Preservice Teacher Perceptions of the Online Teaching and Learning Environment during COVID-19 Lockdown in the UAE', Education Sciences, vol. 12, no. 12, 911. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci12120911

Nielson, MG, Martin, CL, Rogers, LO, Miller, CF & England, D 2020, 'Quantifying gender norm resistance', Journal of Adolescence, vol. 84, pp. 219-229. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2020.09.008

Andrews, NCZ, Martin, CL, Cook, RE, Field, RD & England, DE 2019, 'Exploring dual gender typicality among young adults in the United States', International Journal of Behavioral Development, vol. 43, no. 4, pp. 314-321. https://doi.org/10.1177/0165025418811125

Endendijk, JJ, Andrews, NCZ, England, DE & Martin, CL 2019, 'Gender-identity typologies are related to gender-typing, friendships, and social-emotional adjustment in Dutch emerging adults', International Journal of Behavioral Development, vol. 43, no. 4, pp. 322-333. https://doi.org/10.1177/0165025418820686

Hine, B, Ivanovic, K & England, D 2018, 'From the sleeping princess to the world-saving daughter of the chief: Examining young children's perceptions of 'old' versus 'new' disney princess characters', Social Sciences, vol. 7, no. 9, 161. https://doi.org/10.3390/SOCSCI7090161

Hine, B, England, D, Lopreore, K, Horgan, ES & Hartwell, L 2018, 'The rise of the androgynous princess: Examining representations of gender in prince and princess characters of Disney movies released 2009-2016', Social Sciences, vol. 7, no. 12, 245. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci7120245

Martin, CL, Andrews, NCZ, England, DE, Zosuls, K & Ruble, DN 2017, 'A Dual Identity Approach for Conceptualizing and Measuring Children's Gender Identity', Child Development, vol. 88, no. 1, pp. 167-182. https://doi.org/10.1111/cdev.12568

Field, RD, Martin, CL, Andrews, NCZ, England, DE & Zosuls, KM 2017, 'The influence of gender-based relationship efficacy on attitudes toward school', Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, vol. 63, no. 3, pp. 396-421. https://doi.org/10.13110/merrpalmquar1982.63.3.0396

Zosuls, KM, Andrews, NCZ, Martin, CL, England, DE & Field, RD 2016, 'Developmental Changes in the Link Between Gender Typicality and Peer Victimization and Exclusion', Sex Roles, vol. 75, no. 5-6, pp. 243-256. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-016-0608-z

Zosuls, KM, Field, RD, Martin, CL, Andrews, NCZ & England, DE 2014, 'Gender-Based relationship efficacy: Children's self-perceptions in intergroup contexts', Child Development, vol. 85, no. 4, pp. 1663-1676. https://doi.org/10.1111/cdev.12209

Didonato, MD, England, D, Martin, CL & Amazeen, PG 2013, 'Dynamical analyses for developmental science: A primer for intrigued scientists', Human Development, vol. 56, no. 1, pp. 59-75. https://doi.org/10.1159/000342936

Zosuls, KM, Martin, CL, Ruble, DN, Miller, CF, Gaertner, BM, England, DE & Hill, AP 2011, ''It's not that we hate you': Understanding children's gender attitudes and expectancies about peer relationships', British Journal of Developmental Psychology, vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 288-304. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2044-835X.2010.02023.x

England, DE, Descartes, L & Collier-Meek, MA 2011, 'Gender Role Portrayal and the Disney Princesses', Sex Roles, vol. 64, no. 7-8, pp. 555-567. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-011-9930-7


Didonato, MD, Martin, CL & England, D 2013, Gendered interactions and their consequences: A dynamical perspective. in Gender and Development. Taylor and Francis, pp. 20-42. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315870878

View all publications in research portal