Professor Kate Bedford

Professor Kate Bedford

Birmingham Law School
Professor of Law
Deputy Head of School (Research)

Contact details

Birmingham Law School
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Kate is an interdisciplinary scholar, with a background in political economy, development, socio-legal studies, and gender/sexuality studies. Her first monograph (Developing Partnerships: Gender, Sexuality and the Reformed World Bank, 2009) explored the World Bank’s gender and development lending in Latin America. She is involved in a new project exploring the consequences of the turn to law within gender and development. Her development research has been funded by the Ford Foundation, Overbrook Foundation, UNRISD, and the RCUK.

Kate is also interested in gambling. In 2008 she began a project on the gendered political economy of gambling regulation, using commercial and non-commercial bingo to think in new ways about the regulation of everyday speculation. Funded by a large ESRC grant (ES/J02385X/1, A Full House: Developing A New Socio-Legal Theory of Global Gambling Regulation), she and a team of researchers have explored bingo regulation around the world. She is currently finalising a monograph on this topic.


  • Ph.D. in Political Science (2005). Rutgers (New Jersey, USA).
    Major field: Women in Politics. Minor fields: Comparative Politics; Globalisation Studies.
  • M.A. in Women’s Studies (2000). Ohio State University (Ohio, USA).
  • B.A. Hons (1997). University of Leeds (UK). History and Sociology, with a specialisation in development studies.


Kate joined Birmingham Law School as a Chair in Law in 2018. She previously worked at Kent Law School. She has held positions at Barnard College, Ohio University, Rutgers, and the Institute of Political Economy in Carleton. Prior to entering academia she worked with development NGOs.


Kate is on research leave in 2018, and will begin teaching on core and optional modules in 2019.

Postgraduate supervision

  • Law and development
  • law and political economy
  • gender, sexuality and law
  • gambling.

Find out more - our PhD Law  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


Kate’s research focuses on how law, regulation, and governance shape economies, societies, and subjectivities, especially in terms of gender and sexuality.

In 2009 she published a book exploring the impact of the World Bank’s development lending on gender and sexuality, with case studies of Ecuador and Argentina. Rather than exploring areas of lending that were already marked as being about sex, such as HIV/AIDS or reproductive health, she analysed lending that seemed to be about other things, such as export promotion in floriculture, or institutional strengthening in the aftermath of economic crisis. The book showed how multi-lateral development institutions like the Bank played a key role in shaping gender and sexuality in the Global South. It called for much greater debate about this on the part of academics and development practitioners. As a result of this work, Kate was invited by the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development to write a report on care debates in the UN, which looked at sexuality and disability. In 2014, in the aftermath of World Bank President Jim Yong Kim’s critique of Uganda for passing anti-gay legislation, she was invited to the Bank to give a presentation on sexuality and development. Her sexuality research has also been used by Sexuality Policy Watch, a global sexual rights organisation, and by the gender team in the Bretton Woods Project, an organisation that monitors the Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Another strand of Kate’s research considers the gendered political economy of gambling regulation. Critical political economists have long used gambling to think through capitalism, but they tend to do so via analogies with casinos. Kate was interested in other, differently gendered, more vernacular gambling forms. She was especially interested in bingo, a lottery-style game popular in many parts of the world about which there is almost no academic research, and certainly not in law. Bingo has a very different demographic to casinos, being especially popular with older, working class women, and, in North America and Australia, with indigenous populations. In addition, bingo is intriguing because it is associated with mutual aid and charitable fundraising as much as, if not more than, commercial gambling in many places. Kate wanted to know what impact that mix had on regulatory priorities in different places, and what that in turn could teach us about the political economy of gambling regulation. After some pilot projects in England and Canada, in 2013 she was awarded a large ESRC grant to research the comparative regulation of bingo. Aside from their academic publications, the research team have generated a number of non-academic outputs, including a public debate about bingo regulation in the UK, and major policy report exploring Brazil, the UK, the EU, and Canada ( Kate is currently finalising a monograph on what bingo can teach us about regulating capitalism.

Kate’s current research in on the increasing role played by law within debates about gender, sexuality, and development. Working with academics in Ecuador, she has submitted a networking grant to the Global Challenges Research Fund to strengthen socio-legal research capacity on gender, sexuality, law, and development.



  • 2019: New Perspectives in Law and Development (Hart), co-written with Amanda Perry-Kessaris and Donatella Alessandrini. Kate’s chapters are on the judicialisation of gender and development, and on sexuality, law, and development.
  • 2018: Monograph on Bingo: Regulating Gender and Gambling in Everyday Life. (120,000 words). Under review.
  • 2009. Developing Partnerships: Gender, Sexuality and the Reformed World Bank (University of Minnesota Press).


  • 2018: Regulating Bodies in Canadian Bingo. Under review for a special issue on socio-legal approaches to regulating playful speculation at the Journal of Law and Social Policy (Canada).
  • 2016. Bingo Regulation and the Feminist Political Economy of Everyday Gambling. Globalizations 13.6: 801-814. Re-published as a chapter in Feminist Political Economies of the Everyday (Routledge, 2017).
  • 2016. Letting the right ones in: Whitelists, jurisdictional reputation, and the racial dynamics of online gambling regulation. Environment and Planning D 34.1: 30-47.
  • 2015. Regulating Volunteers: Lessons from the Bingo Halls. Law and Social Inquiry 40.2: 461-490.
  • 2011. Getting the bingo hall back again? Gambling law reform, economic regeneration, and the gendered limits of ‘casino capitalism.’ Social and Legal Studies 20.3: 369-388.
  • 2010. Feminists Theorize International Political Economy: The State of the Field. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 36 (1). p. 1-18. Co-written with Shirin Rai.
  • 2010. Doing Business with the Ladies: Gender, Legal Reform, and Entrepreneurship in the International Finance Corporation. Labor, Capital and Society 42.1.
  • 2009. Gender and Institutional Strengthening: The World Bank’s Policy Record. Contemporary Politics 15.2: 197-214.
  • 2008: Holding It Together in a Crisis: Family Strengthening and Embedding Neoliberalism. IDS Bulletin39.6: 60-66.
  • 2008. Social Rights and Gender Justice in the Neoliberal Moment: A Conversation about Welfare, and Transnational Politics. An Interview with Nancy Fraser by Kate Bedford. Feminist Theory 9.2: 225-245. This piece has been republished in Chinese.
  • 2007. The Imperative of Male Inclusion: How Institutional Context Influences World Bank Gender Policy. International Feminist Journal of Politics, 9:3: 289-311.
  • 2005. Loving to Straighten Out Development: Sexuality and ‘Ethnodevelopment’ in the World Bank’s Ecuadorian Lending. Feminist Legal Studies 13: 295-322. This piece has been republished in Portuguese.

Book chapters.

  • 2017. O Paper do directo na justica sexual e economica: perspectivas criticas dos estudos de genero (The Role of Law in Sexual and Economic Justice: Lessons from Gender and Development). Published in a book of conference proceedings from the 2nd Conference on Gender and Sexual Diversity, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Belo Horizonte, Brazil).
  • 2013. Economic Governance and the Regulation of Intimacy in Gender and Development: Lessons from the World Bank’s programming. In Feminist Strategies in International Governance, ed. G. Caglar, E Prugl and S Zwingel. Routledge.
  • 2012. Chapter on gender and multi-level governance for The Handbook on Gender and Politics, ed. Georgina Waylen, Oxford University Press.
  • 2012. Care and the Commission on the Status on Women. Chapter commissioned for a joint Routledge and UN Research Institute for Social Development book on The Social and Political Economy of Care, ed. Shahra Razavi and Silke Stabb.
  • 2009. Promoting Exports, Restructuring Love: The World Bank and the Ecuadorian Flower Industry in Development, Sexual Rights and Global Governance (ed. Amy Lind, Routledge).
  • 2008. Governing Intimacy in the World Bank in Analysing and Transforming Global Governance: Feminist Perspectives (ed. Shirin Rai and Georgina Waylen, Palgrave).
  • 2004. Gender and Politics in The Encyclopedia of Politics and Government. (ed. Mary Hawkesworth and Maurice Kogan, New York: Routledge). p.603-615.

Policy Publications and Review Essays

  • 2016. The Bingo Project: Final Report (with chapter contributions from Toni Williams and Donal Casey). 88 pages. Available at 
  • 2016. Solidarity. In Gender, Sexuality and Social Justice: What’s Law Got to Do with It? Ed. Kay Lalor et al. IDS, Brighton. p 142-144.
  • 2010. Harmonizing Global Care Policy? Care and the Commission on the Status of Women. Peer-reviewed working paper commissioned by the UN Research Institute for Social Development. Gender and Development Programme Paper no. 7 (February). UNRISD, Geneva. 35 pages.
  • 2009. Towards A Vision of Sexual and Economic Justice. Volume 4 of the collection New Feminist Solutions, published by the Barnard Centre for Research on Women and funded by the Ford Foundation. 48 pages. Report was co-written with Janet Jakobsen.
  • 2003. How Employment Became Emancipation: Tracing the World Bank’s Effort to Get Women into Work. P 41-7. In Reconfiguring Class and Gender: Working papers from the 2002-3 Institute for Research on Women seminar. Ed D Cobble et al. Rutgers. New Jersey.

Edited Special Issues or Special Sections

  • 2018: Proposal for a special issue (Keeping Chance in its Place: The Socio-Legal Regulation of Gambling), co-edited by Kate Bedford, Donal Casey, and Alexandra Flynn, accepted by the Journal for Law and Social Policy (Osgoode) for publication in spring 2018.
  • 2012. Edited a special issue of Feminists@Law (2.1) on gender and neo-constitutionalism in Latin America.
  • 2010: Editor of a special issue of Feminist Legal Studies (18.1) on sexualities and markets.
  • 2010: Co-editor (with Shirin Rai) of a special issue of Signs (36.1) on feminist political economy.
  • 2009: Co-editor (with Janet Jakobsen) of a special issue of The Scholar and the Feminist Online on sexual and economic justice (issue 7.3). Contains essays from 12 leading scholars, plus creative content from artists and poets (

Other Academic Publications

  • 2013. Research Note: Bingo and Feminist Political Economy. Feminists@Law. 4.1 (available at (
  • 2013. Reflections from a Visitor. Politics and Gender 9.4: 484-488. Solicited for a special section on the legacy of the Rutgers Women in Politics Ph.D. programme.
  • 2013. Halls, Balls and Volunteers: The Feminist Political Economy of Gambling Regulation. Solicited for a special issue of the Scholar and Feminist Online on Gender, Justice and Neo-Liberal Transformations (
  • 2010. Introduction to a special issue of Feminist Legal Studies (18.1) on markets and sexualities.
  • 2009. Introduction to a special issue of Scholar and Feminist Online, on Towards a Vision of Sexual and Economic Justice. Co-written with Prof Janet Jakobsen.
  • 2007. Book review of Gendered Paradoxes: Women’s Movements, State Restructuring, and Global Development in Ecuador (Amy Lind); Women and Gender Equity in Development Theory and Practice (Jane Jaquette and Gale Summerfield) and Sex in Development (Vincanne Adams and Stacy Leigh Pigg). Signs 32.3: 809-815.

View all publications in research portal


Gender and international development 

Gambling regulation