When will universities wake up to this epidemic of sexual harassment? (The Guardian)

On my first day as a student union vice-president, amid a flurry of introductory meetings, briefings and bits of paper, I was given the names. There was a tour of the office space, a demonstration of the annual leave booking system, and stuck somewhere in between a list of staff at the university with a reputation for inappropriate behaviour who I should avoid where possible.

One, I was told, had invited two female officers to the pub under the guise of building a good working relationship. It was a bonding exercise that had ended with him following one of them home. It was recommended I didn’t attend his committee or accept the invitation for introductory drinks that would (and did) arrive on my desk within the first month of my term. Now, how to work the photocopier. … Read More

The state is an enabler of sexual violence. So what hope for the victims? (The Guardian)

What does a perpetrator of violence against women look like? For many, the question still evokes images of shadowy strangers pouncing in the dark or thuggish drunken husbands stumbling home from football matches – stereotypes challenged tirelessly by women’s organisations and campaigners, especially throughout the current 16 days of action against gender-based violence.

In reality, women are statistically most likely to be assaulted by someone known to them, and domestic abuse can be, and is, also perpetrated by handsome middle-class professionals. Busting myths is therefore a crucial tool in the fight against a culture which relies on them. But for all these vital and urgent conversations about the true face of perpetrators, there is one that remains largely invisible in spite of both ubiquity and power: the state itself. … Read More

Corporate feminism oppresses women. Here’s how. (The Guardian)

What would you do with £119,000? It’s a nice problem to have, but not one the majority of us will ever have to grapple with, given that the average UK income is £26,500.

The £119,000 threshold is what it takes to become one of the UK’s super-rich, the top 1% of earners in the country. They are concentrated in sectors such as finance and business, and between them they are worth more than £250bn to the UK’s economy. It also just so happens that only one in five of them are women, according to new research released by the LSE. … Read More

Radio 2 Interview – Conservative Leadership Election and Feminism

A few days ago I was invited to appear on Radio 2 as part of a debate about whether an all-woman race for the Conservative leadership is a feminist victory. Just as we were about to go live, Andrea Leadsom went and stole my thunder by pulling out of the race. As a result, I ended up only doing a short interview bit about my thoughts instead of a proper debate, but you can listen below if you’re interested. … Read More

Don’t confuse the Conservatives’ embrace of female leaders with feminism (The Guardian)

You wait 26 years for another female Tory leader and then two candidates come along at once. Between Margaret Thatcher’s resignation in 1990 andDavid Cameron coming to power in 2005, the Conservatives had seen six leadership elections featuring 14 candidates, with not a single woman to be found on the ballot. Yet here we are in 2016, with Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom fighting it out not just for party leadership but for the keys to No 10 too. … Read More