Department of Sociology

Equality and inclusion

A group of students laughing together by the lakes

Supporting, promoting and celebrating equality in education

The Department of Sociology has been awarded the prestigious Athena SWAN bronze award. The Athena SWAN Charter was established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research.

In May 2015, the charter was expanded to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL), and in professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students. The charter now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.

Visit the Athena SWAN website to learn more about the application process and the criteria for receiving a bronze award.

A portrait of Professor Pamela Cox on a cloudy day.
"We have endeavoured to embed Athena SWAN principles across the department and in all activities in order that it become second nature to us.  Our department ensures that decisions are shared widely.  We now have an entire department familiar with and dedicated to Athena SWAN principles."
Professor Pamela Cox Head of Department Sociology

Championing research on gender

The Department of Sociology has a long history of groundbreaking, innovative work on gender, sexuality and inequality. Below are listed some recent activities of five outstanding academics at different stages of their careers, from PhD students to full Professors, all of whom have an interest in gender equality.

A young woman reading a book in front of a computer screen.
Athena SWAN Departmental Bronze Award

Read our application for the Athena SWAN Bronze Award and learn more about what makes the Department of Sociology an inclusive and supportive working environment.

Read our application (.pdf)

Modules on gender taught by the Department

Sharing our rich knowledge and understanding of gender is an integral part of what we do in the Department of Sociology. Many of our teaching modules introduce key theories to our students as together we examine society's understanding of gender. Through our teaching we help our students to think critically about how gender shapes our understanding and construct of the society we live in. Below we showcase some of our most exciting modules:

Showcasing our research on gender

Can we do more to support birth mothers after a child's taken into care? An impact case study

This impact case study examines the English family justice system which faces a crisis of ‘revolving doors’ and reoccurring care proceedings, where up to one in four birth mothers who have a baby taken into care in England are likely to re-appear in another set of care proceedings within seven years.

Read the full impact case study which highlights the research led by Professor Pam Cox.

The Modern Slavery Act is having unintended consequences for women’s freedom in Sri Lanka: An online article

This online article written for The Conversation discusses the Modern Slavery Act which was seen as a big achievement for combating the issue of forced labour. But since it was passed by the UK government in 2015, many have pointed out its shortcomings. In particular, how the legislation helps cover up serious forced labour issues, all the while making citizens who are concerned about the problem feel better.

Read the full article written by Dr Sandya Hewamanne on The Conversation website.

How childhood experiences influence sexual behaviour in later life: An online news article

This news article from the University of Essex, details a study by Dr Laurie Hawkins which realises the influence between early childhood experiences and how sexually active female students are when they get to university years.

Read the full news article on the Essex University website and find the link to the published research article by Dr Laurie Hawkins.

Regulating Migrant Prostitution: Gender, Sexuality and Migration in Policy and Practice: A research project

This project is concerned with the exploration of the regulation of prostitution-related migrations of women in contemporary Europe, with a specific focus on the Italian case study. Original empirical data and policy documents addressing sex trafficking, prostitution and migration in contemporary Italy were collected in the course of previous doctoral research and form the basis of analysis in this project.

Visit the ESRC website to review all outputs related to this research project by Dr Isabel Crowhurst.

Resources for all in the department

Our department fosters an inclusive research and teaching environment. Below is a list of some of the resources available to those in the department and across the University of Essex.

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Get in touch
Róisín Ryan-Flood Athena Swan Lead for the Department of Sociology
University of Essex
Telephone: 01206 873551
Deaprtment of Sociology University of Essex
Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, CO4 3SQ
Telephone: 01206 873275