Education and social justice: Investigating gender-based violence and social mobility

Posted on 5 July 2018

On Thursday 7 June, the Department of Education hosted inaugural lectures for Professor Paul Wakeling and Professor Vanita Sundaram.

Professor Paul Wakeling presented on 'Can universities be an 'engine of social mobility'?

The potential for higher education to play a role in upward social mobility has a long pedigree, but has figured especially prominently in recent debates about both higher education expansion and broader socio-economic inequalities in the UK and beyond. In this talk, Paul drew on his previous research to show some of the limits to the role which universities are able to play in social mobility. He highlighted in particular access to postgraduate study, inequalities between types of universities and the role of academic attainment to illustrate my arguments. While he emphasised that the solutions to social mobility problems largely lie outside of higher education, he argued that there remains a critical role for universities in bringing about a fairer world.

Professor Vanita Sundaram presented on 'Tackling sexism, sexual harassment and violence in education'.

Increasing attention is being paid to the causes, prevalence and implications of sexual harassment and violence in educational settings. In this talk Vanita outlined her work on these issues, exploring how educational contexts might be seen as conducive contexts for sexism, harassment and violence, considering the ways in which such practices are sustained across the educational life course, and thinking about the possibilities and limits of violence prevention in educational settings. In particular, she drew on research about young people's experiences of sexual harassment and violence in school, and the increased visibility of so-called 'lad culture' in universities. She argued that a gender-based analysis of these issues is essential to prevention and challenge in education.

Watch their inaugural lectures