- Dr Meryl Kenny
- Senior Lecturer in Gender and Politics
- 4.29 Chrystal Macmillan Building 15a George Square Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
- +44 (0)131 651 1332
- Research Interests
- Women and politics, gender and political institutions, Feminist institutionalism, political parties, Political recruitment, Political representation, Territorial Politics
Guidance and Feedback Hours
- I am on maternity leave until January 2019.
Meryl Kenny is Senior Lecturer in Gender and Politics at the University of Edinburgh. She joined the subject area of Politics and International Relations in August 2015, having held previous positions at the University of Leicester and the University of New South Wales (Sydney, Australia).
Meryl is an elected Trustee of the Political Studies Association (2015-2018) and past convenor of the PSA Women and Politics Specialist Group (2013-2017). She currently chairs the PSA's Equality and Diversity Committee (until 2018).
At Edinburgh, Meryl co-convenes the Gender Politics Research Group, which hosts the genderpol blog (@genderpol on Twitter). She is also a member of the steering group of the cross-party Women5050 campaign for legal gender quotas in Scotland.
Meryl is Co-Director of the Feminism and Institutionalism International Network (FIIN), based at Edinburgh, and sits on the editorial boards of Political Studies Review and Scottish Affairs.
Research Interests and Teaching
Meryl's research interests bridge the intersection of gender politics, party politics, territorial politics, and institutional approaches to the study of politics. Her current research focuses on two main areas: gender and political recruitment, and feminist institutional theory. Her book Gender and Political Recruitment (Palgrave 2013) provides a feminist institutionalist analysis of the political recruitment process in post-devolution Scotland. In 2014, she co-directed a workshop on ‘Beyond Supply and Demand: Gender and Political Recruitment in Comparative Perspective’ at the ECPR Joint Sessions (with Tània Verge, Universitat Pompeu Fabra), which resulted in a Critical Perspectives in Politics & Gender (2015) and a Special Issue in Government & Opposition (2016). She is also currently a CoI on the ESRC Seminar Series 'Feminizing Politics and Power in the UK: Access, Voice and Accountability' (2015-17), as well as CoI on the UGC-UKIERI grant 'Teaching Feminisms, Transforming Lives: Questions of Identity, Pedagogy and Violence in India and the UK'.
Meryl is also involved in collaborative research through the Feminism and Institutionalism International Network (FIIN), which aims to develop a distinctive approach to studying gender politics that combines insights from feminist and new institutional theory. She is co-editing a new book series on Feminist Institutionalist Perspectives with Rowman & Littlefield International (with Professor Fiona Mackay, Edinburgh and Dr. Elin Bjarnegard, Uppsala University).
Working with Honours students, Meryl designed and runs the course 'Understanding Gender in the Contemporary World' (Pre-Honours), which provides an introduction to gender for students from across the University. (Note: In 2018/19, Understanding Gender will be run by Claire Duncanson).
In 2015/16, Meryl's course SPS in Practice was awarded 'Best Course' at the EUSA Teaching Awards, and was also the Runner-Up for the Innovative Assessment Prize at the ceremony. You can listen to Meryl and MA Politics graduate James Bryson talking about the SPS in Practice experience here.
Meryl is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Current PhD Students
Leah McCabe (Social Policy): 'Gendering Change: The Impact of Women in Policy-Making Positions on Domestic Abuse Policy in the Scottish Parliament'
Larissa Toal (PIR): Women's Representation, Participation and Search for Gender Justice in Sub-State Nationalist Movements
Emilia Belknap (PIR): What do (Scots)women Want Politically?
(2013) Gender and Political Recruitment: Theorizing Institutional Change. (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan). [Reviewed in Politics & Gender and Perspectives on Politics]
Journal Special Issues:
(2016) 'Candidate Selection: Parties and Legislatures in a New Era', Government and Opposition, 51 (3) (with T. Verge).
(2015) 'Critical Perspectives on Gender and Political Recruitment', Politics & Gender, 11 (4) (with T. Verge)
(2016) 'Pathways to Power: Women's Representation in the 2014 European Parliament Elections', European Journal of Political Research, 55 (3), 626-41 (with M. Luhiste)
(2016) 'Comparing Candidate Selection: A Feminist Institutionalist Approach', Government and Opposition, 51 (3), 370-392 (with E. Bjarnegard)
(2016) 'Opening up the Black Box: Gender and Candidate Selection in a New Era', Government and Opposition, 51 (3), 351-369 (with T. Verge).
(2015) 'Revealing the Secret Garden: The Informal Dimensions of Political Recruitment', Politics & Gender, 11 (4), 748-753. (with E. Bjarnegard)
(2015) 'Women and the 2015 General Election: Shattering the Political Glass Ceiling?', Scottish Affairs, 24 (4), 389-408.
(2014) 'A Feminist Institutionalist Approach', Politics & Gender, 10 (4), 679-684.
(2014) ‘When is contagion not very contagious? Dynamics of women’s political representation in Scotland’, Parliamentary Affairs, 67 (4), 866-886 (with F. Mackay).
(2014) 'Engendering the Independence Debate', Scottish Affairs, 23 (3), 323-331.
(2013) ‘Decentralization, Political Parties and Women’s Representation: Evidence from Spain and Britain’, Publius: The Journal of Federalism, 43 (1), 109-128 (with T. Verge).
(2012) ‘Less male, pale and stale? Women and the 2012 Scottish Local Government Elections’, Scottish Affairs, 80 (Summer), 20-32 (with F. Mackay).
(2011) ‘In the Balance: Women and the 2011 Scottish Parliament Elections’, Scottish Affairs, 76 (Summer), 74-90 (with F. Mackay).
(2011) ‘Gender and Devolution in Spain and the United Kingdom’, Politics & Gender, 7 (2), 280-286 (with F. Mackay).
(2010) ‘New institutionalism through a gender lens: towards a feminist institutionalism?’, International Political Science Review, 31 (5), 573-588 (with L. Chappell and F. Mackay).
(2009) ‘Already doin’ it for ourselves? Skeptical notes on feminism and institutionalism’, Politics & Gender, 5 (2), 271-280 (with F. Mackay).
(2007) ‘Gender, Institutions and Power: A Critical Review’, Politics, 27 (2), 91-100.
(2007) ‘Women’s Representation in the 2007 Scottish Parliament: Temporary Setback or Return to the Norm?’, Scottish Affairs, 60 (Summer), 25-38 (with F. Mackay).
(2018, forthcoming) 'From Thatcher to May and Beyond: Women in British Politics' in N. Allen and J. Bartle (eds) None Past the Post: Britain at the Polls 2017. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
(2017) 'Feminist and Gendered Approaches' in V. Lowndes, D. Marsh and G. Stoker (eds) Theory and Methods in Political Science. 4th ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave (with F. Mackay).
(2017) ‘Who, where and how? Informal institutions and the third generation of research on gendered dynamics in political recruitment’ in G. Waylen (ed) Gender and Informal Institutions. Rowman & Littlefield International (with E. Bjarnegard).
(2014) 'Gender and Political Recruitment' in R. Campbell and S. Childs (eds) Deeds and Words: Gendering Politics. Colchester: ECPR Press.
(2011) ‘Gender and Institutions of Political Recruitment: Candidate Selection in Post-Devolution Scotland’ in M.L. Krook and F. Mackay (eds) Gender, Politics and Institutions: Toward a Feminist Institutionalism. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 21-41.
(2010) ‘Women and political representation in post-devolution Scotland: high time or high tide?’ in E. Breitenbach and P. Thane (eds) Women and Citizenship in Britain and Ireland in the 20th Century. London: Continuum, pp. 171-188 (with F. Mackay).
(2009) ‘Women’s political representation and the SNP: gendered paradoxes and puzzles’ in G. Hassan (ed) The Modern SNP: From Protest to Power. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, pp. 42-54 (with F. Mackay).
Recent Media and Commentary (selected):
- 'Who Runs the World? Gender and Politics in the UK and Beyond', Political Insight, 8 (2), September 2017
- 'Women in Scottish politics: Travelling the Distance?', Holyrood Magazine, 24 May 2017.
- State of the Nation: Do we need 50-50 quotas to close the gender gap?, The Sunday Herald, 5 March 2017.
- Gender quotas ensure the best and brightest candidates are selected, The Herald Op-Ed, 11 January 2017.
- Dangerous Women in Politics, The Dangerous Women Project
- From Merkel to May and Beyond: Are Women Running the World?, The Global Observatory, International Peace Institute
- Women in politics: the struggle continues, The Economist, 30 July 2016.
- UK House of Commons needs more women, breastfeeding and gender neutral toilets: Report, Newsweek, 21 July 2016.
- 'Brexit: la revanche des femmes', Le Journal du Dimanche, 3 July 2016.
- Women in Charge: How Close is a Female-Led Parliament?, Newsweek Op-Ed, 1 July 2016
- 'Analysis: The Representation of Women in the Scottish Parliament', Holyrood Magazine, 13 May 2016 (with Cera Murtagh & Fiona Mackay).
- 'Nil, Nada, Zilch: The Change in Women's Representation in 2016', University of Edinburgh Gender Politics Blog (with Cera Murtagh & Fiona Mackay)
- 'Holyrood 2016: Where are the Women?', The Guardian, 12 May 2016.
- 'Tory gains blamed for lack of shift in gender balance at Holyrood', The National, 7 May 2016.
- 'Our leaders may be female, but we still need more women in politics', The National, 30 April 2016.
- 'What do Scots women really want out of the Holyrood 2016 election?', The Sunday Herald, 3 April 2016.
- 'Don't risk missing the quota bus', The Scotswoman, 8 March 2016
- More Women Needed at the Top: What the U.K. Can Learn from Canada, Newsweek Op-ed, 7 November 2015
- Has the tide turned for women's representation in Scotland?, Democratic Audit Scotland
- Parties should choose their leadership team with gender balance in mind, Democratic Audit (and see previous version of this post for the Fawcett Society)
- Criticisms of Corbyn's Cabinet show how far we've come, The National op-ed, 15 September 2015
- Why Aren't There More Women in British Politics?, Political Insight
Topics interested in supervising
I am able to offer PhD supervision in most areas relating to gender politics (international, national and local), party politics, elections and political representation, and British and comparative politics. I would particularly welcome prospective students with interests in feminist and institutionalist approaches to the study of party politics, political recruitment, and/or post-devolution politics in the UK.
If you are interested in being supervised by Meryl Kenny, please see the links below for more information: