School of Social and Political Science

Meryl Kenny

Job Title

Senior Lecturer in Gender and Politics

Meryl Kenny's photo

Room number


Building (Address)

Chrystal Macmillan Building

Street (Address)

15a George Square

City (Address)


Country (Address)


Post code (Address)



Meryl Kenny is Senior Lecturer in Gender and Politics at the University of Edinburgh, and Deputy Director of Learning and Teaching for the School of Social and Political Science. 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). 

At Edinburgh, Meryl convenes the Gender Politics Research Group, which hosts the genderpol blog  (@genderpol on Twitter). She sits on the steering group of the University's genderED initiative. 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; Associate Editor of The British Journal of Politics & International Relations; and sits on the editorial board of Political Studies Review


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. 

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.

With Claire Duncanson and Fiona Mackay, she won the Political Studies Association Innovation in Teaching Politics (Group) Award in 2019, for the course The Global Politics of Sex and Gender. 

In 2020/21, Meryl is teaching on:

  • Understanding Gender in the Contemporary World (UG Sem 1, Course Organiser)
  • Gender, Power and Representation (UG Sem 2, Course Organiser)
  • Gender, Politics and Representation (PG Sem 2)

Meryl is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Current PhD Students

Leah McCabe (Social Policy): 'Gendering Change: Tracing domestic abuse policy discourses and directions in Scotland from 1998’

Emilia Belknap (PIR): What do (Scots)women Want Politically?

Laura Shaw (University of Glasgow Business School): Women's Political Leadership in Scotland since Devolution

Recent Publications


(2013) Gender and Political Recruitment: Theorizing Institutional Change. (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan). [Reviewed in Politics & Gender and Perspectives on Politics]

Journal Special Issues:

(2020) 'The Gender Ambition Gap in Comparative Perspective' European Journal of Politics & Gender (with J.M. Piscopo). 

(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)

Journal Articles (Selected):

(advance access) 'Politics and International Relations: A Gendered Discipline,' Political Studies Review (with J. Thomson)

(2020) 'Rethinking the ambition gap: gender and candidate emergence in comparative perspective', European Journal of Politics & Gender, 3 (1): 2-10 (with J.M. Piscopo).

(2020) 'Doing Politics Differently? Applying a Feminist Institutionalist Lens to the UK Women's Equality Party', Politics & Gender, 16 (1): 26-47 (with E. Evans). 

(2019) ‘The Women’s Equality Party: Emergence, Organisation & Challenges’, Political Studies, 67 (4): 855-871 (with E. Evans)

(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)

(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).

(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).

(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.

Book Chapters (selected):

(forthcoming) 'Political Parties' in A. Atchison (ed) Political Science Is For Everyone. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

(2020) 'Transforming Staff-Student Partnerships: An Experiment in Feminist Co-Production' in R. Govinda (ed) Doing Feminisms in the Academy: Identity, Institutional Pedagogy and Critical Classrooms in the UK and India. Zubaan Press.

(2020) 'Women, Gender and Politics in Scotland' in M. Keating and C. McAngus (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Scottish Politics (with F. Mackay).

(2018) '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.

Recent Media and Commentary (selected):

Research interests

Research interests

Women and politics, Gender and political institutions, Feminist institutionalism, Political parties, Political recruitment, Political representation, Territorial politics

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. She was a CoI on the ESRC Seminar Series 'Feminizing Politics and Power in the UK: Access, Voice and Accountability' (2015-17), and is currently 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 book series on Studies on Feminist Institutionalism with Oxford University Press (with Professor Fiona Mackay, Edinburgh; Prof. Louise Chappell, UNSW; and Dr. Elin Bjarnegard, Uppsala University).

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 (open in new windows) for more information:

Staff Hours and Guidance

By appointment in Sem 2 (email me for details). Due to nursery closures in Scotland, I am currently working flexibly and prioritising childcare commitments, so it will take me longer than usual to respond to queries.