Research - Family Gender and Equality Unit

Members of the Family Gender and Equality Unit produce research that addresses both conceptual and practical aspects of family law, child law, sexuality, equality, vulnerability and gender.

The Research agendas of the Unit include a variety of topics at the forefront of public and media attention, including:

  • Child Protection
  • Reproductive Autonomy
  • Same Sex Relationships
  • Homophobia in the armed forces, workplace and society
  • Sexuality
  • Gender, partnerships and vulnerability
  • Feminist Interpretations of Law.

Research streams

While the Family, Gender and Equality Unit encompasses a broad range of research interests, the research and activities within the Unit can also be understood as operating within a number of themes or research streams.

In the following pages, you can find descriptions of the legal, conceptual and analytical concerns of each stream, together with further information about recent and current staff projects in these areas. We also include suggested contact points, should you be interested in getting in touch with the Unit.

Children and Families

Staff Contact:

  • Elena Blanco
  • Sue Heenan
  • Emma Whewell

Child Protection

Unit Activity

  • Funding secured from HEFCE for a research project on ‘Child Protection: Establishing a Network for Future Action’
  • Series of Roundtable Events on Child Protection issues (Noc 2009-Dec 2010) – see further in Events.

Staff Contact:

  • Elena Blanco
  • Sue Heenan

Family Law

Researchers within the family law stream are working on a number of areas, including international and comparative conceptions of the family and cross-border family and children rights.

Staff Contact:

  • Sue Heenan

Equality

Unit Activity

  • Iain McDonald (with Andy Francis of Keele University) has published a number of articles on the need to more adequately address the needs of part-time and mature students in legal education. Their work problematises the notions of straightforward equality and suggests a more fully contextualised equivalency approach is necessary.

Staff Contact:

  • Jackie Jones
  • Iain McDonald

Sexuality

The interaction of sexuality and law raises a number of important legal, ethical and political concerns. For example, the question of equal or different treatment for the LGBT community and heterosexual couples through the civil partnership regime created by the Civil Partnership Act 2003 raises both national and international concern. Moreover, despite positive progress on equality for the LGBT community, persistent concerns remain over the presence of homophobia at social and institutional levels.

Unit Activity

  • A number of members of the Unit co-edited and contributed to a major edited collection, Gender, Sexualities and Law (Glasshouse, 2011), which will have chapters written by leading academics from South Africa, Australia, USA, Canada as well as from the UK.
  • Jackie Jones has published a number of book chapters and articles on same-sex marriage and legal conceptions of the family (the latter with Elena Blanco)
  • Iain McDonald has written on homophobic violence and the policing of hate crime.
  • Rick Ball has explored homophobia in the military. 

Staff Contact:

  • Iain McDonald
  • Richard Ball
  • Jackie Jones

Reproductive Autonomy

Unit Activity

Rachel Fenton has published both articles and book chapters in this area and presented conference papers both in the UK and the USA.

Staff Contact:

  • Rachel Fenton

Gender, Partnerships and Vulnerability

Unit Activity

  • Jackie Jones has worked with the Welsh Assembly Government to research the trafficking of women and children across borders.
  • Jackie Jones is also to edit a special issue of the Liverpool Law journal on human dignity, and a special issue of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Journal on dress codes in the workplace.
  • Shilan Shah-Davis has done work on girl soldiers, honour killings and, more recently on female genital mutilation.
  • Anna Grear has participated in the Feminist Legal Judgments project (collected in R Hunter et al (eds.) Feminist Judgments – from Theory to Prctice (Hart, 2010)) and written on the theoretical foundations of legal subjectivity.

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