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. In 2021, she received the UK Political Studies Association's Richard Rose Prize, awarded to a younger scholar who has made a distinctive contribution to the study of British politics.
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 and read her Teaching Matters blog about co-creating a course with students 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.
She was a Co-Investigator on the UGC-UKIERI Thematic Partnership Grant 'Teaching Feminisms, Transforming Lives: Questions of Identity, Pedagogy and Violence in India and the UK' (2017-2020), led by Radhika Govinda (Sociology), and in partnership with the University of Edinburgh and Ambedkar University Delhi. From 2021-2023, she is Principal Investigator on a PTAS grant entitled 'Transforming Staff-Student Partnerships: co-creating curriculum through the course Understanding Gender in the Contemporary World.'
In 2021/22, Meryl is teaching on:
- Understanding Gender in the Contemporary World (UG Sem 1, Course Organiser)
- PIR 1A: Concepts and Debates (Guest Lecturer)
Meryl is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Current PhD Students
Leah McCabe (Social Policy): 'Change, Continuity and Contestations: Framing Domestic Abuse Policy in Scotland since 1998'
Emilia Belknap (PIR): 'Feminizing the Gender Gap: A Feminist Approach to Understanding Gender Gaps in Scottish Support for Independence'
Laura Shaw (University of Glasgow Business School): Women's Political Leadership in Scotland since Devolution
(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):
(2021) '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):
(2021) '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):
- 'Two Steps Forward, One Step Back? Gender, Power and Leadership in Troubled Times', Political Insight, 11 (2), May 2020
- '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
- 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.
- 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)
- 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
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). 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 co-edits 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: