Accessibility statement

Building the CWS Community Manifesto

Monday 26 September 2022, 1.00PM

Of course a full community manifesto cannot be built in a couple of hours. This session will be only the beginning, and we will continue discussing, exploring, and reimagining our values together as the year goes on. For now, please join us for this opportunity to share your own feminist values, listen to and learn from those of others, and bask in the joys of building our own feminist utopia!    
Any questions at all, please contact Bobby at or contact in case of any problems. We look forward to seeing you there! (See Campus Map directions). 
Part of CWS Induction Week
This event is part of the wider CWS Induction Week for all new and returning MA and PhD students. Please check out the full programme and join us for all events that are relevant to you. The main MA and GEMMA inductions will take place on Monday, September 26th from 9:00 a.m. in LMB/036X; PhD inductions--where current/returning PhD students are warmly welcome and encouraged to join--will take place on Tuesday, September 27th from 9:30 a.m. in the CWS Postgraduate Space, LMB/158. 
All CWS staff and students will come together for food, drinks & feminist merriment at the CWS Welcome Social on Tuesday, September 27th from 5:00 p.m. in RCH/204. 

Location: LMB/036X, Campus East

MA Induction

Monday 26 September 2022, 9.00AM to 17:00

  • MA Induction for all new & returning MA students
  • Lunch: 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.
  • 1:00 - 2:30 p.m.Building the CWS Community Manifesto interactive session.
  • 3:00 - 4:30 p.m.: GEMMA Induction

Location: LMB/036X

GEMMA Induction

Monday 26 September 2022, 3.00PM to 16:30pm

Location: LMB/021

PGR Induction

Tuesday 27 September 2022, 9.30AM to 13:30pm

    • PhD & Research student induction from 9:30 a.m. in the CWS Postgraduate Space, LMB/158. Please check your Google Calendar to see this event and the location. There will be signs in the Law and Management building too when you arrive on the day.
    • All new & current/returning PGRs welcome & encouraged to join! Lunch will be provided. 
    • CWS Welcome Social from 5:00 p.m. in RCH/204. Food, drinks, music & feminist merriment for all CWS staff, & students
  • Digital Skills training sessions by Antonia Fox (, offered at different times both online and in person throughout the week.
  • Thursday, 29 September 2022 - 1:00-3:00pm, online
  • Friday, 30 September 2022 - 10:00-12:00pm, in LMB 008
  • Friday, 30 September 2022 - 1:00-3:00pm, in LMB 008
  • New students: please choose one session and RSVP via the CWS Google Calendar. Contact for access. More information on the Information for new students page.

Location: LMB/158

CWS Welcome Social

Tuesday 27 September 2022, 5.00PM to 8:00PM

Location: RCH/204

Digital Skills Sessions

Thursday 29 September 2022, 1.00PM

Meet Antonia Fox, CWS PhD researcher & your digital skills guru!

Please sign up for one of these sessions. To sign up, simply select Yes on the Google Calendar invite you should have received from the CWS office. If you cannot see these sessions in your Google Calendar or can’t access the links, please email 

  • Thursday, 29 September 2022 - 1:00-3:00pm, online
  • Friday, 30 September 2022 - 10:00-12:00pm, in LMB 008
  • Friday, 30 September 2022 - 1:00-3:00pm, in LMB 008

Any questions, contact Antonia at

Location: Thursday, 29 September 2022 - 1:00-3:00pm, online Friday, 30 September 2022 - 10:00-12:00pm, in LMB 008 Friday, 30 September 2022 - 1:00-3:00pm, in LMB 008

Baroness Professor Haleh Afshar, OBE

Posted on 26 May 2022

It was with great sadness that we heard of the death of a valued colleague, Professor Haleh Afshar, Baroness Afshar of Heslington, on May 12th.

The Department of CWS is deeply saddened to record the death of Professor Haleh Afshar at the age of 77. Haleh, as she was simply known to colleagues and students alike, was one of the first undergraduates to study at the newly opened University of York in 1963 where she graduated in social sciences in 1967. In 1968 Haleh began work on her PhD in Land Economy at the University of Cambridge as a member of New Hall (now Murray Edwards College) on the subject of land reform in Ireland and Iran. In 1972 she took the Diplôme de Droit Comparé Communauté Européen at the University of Strasbourg and in 1974 she received her doctorate from Cambridge. In the same year, she married Maurice Dodson, a young lecturer in Mathematics from New Zealand who Haleh had previously met while studying at the University of York. Haleh then returned to her native Iran to work on land reform policy for the Ministry of Co-operatives and Rural Development. Haleh and Maurice’s daughter Molly was born in 1977 and the following year their son Ali was born. While working at the Ministry, Haleh devoted her time to really understanding the lives of rural dwellers in Iran and the problems and challenges faced by women in particular.

The experience of being a political exile from her country of birth shaped Haleh’s lifelong commitment to supporting and speaking out on behalf of refugees and asylum seekers including as patron of Refugee Action York. After a lectureship at Bradford University from 1976 to 1985, Haleh joined the University of York as a lecturer in health economics before joining the Centre for Women’s Studies and Department of Politics in 1987. She was appointed Professor of Politics and Women’s Studies in 1999 and Emeritus Professor in 2011. Haleh’s career as an academic and activist subsequently focused on the study of Islamic feminism as well as contributing to its development as a leading theorist. Among the important books that Haleh Afshar authored and edited are Iran, A Revolution In Turmoil (1985); Women in the Middle East. PerceptionsRealities and Struggles for Liberation (1993), Women and Politics in the Third World (1996), Women the State and Ideology (1987), Women and Empowerment (1998) and Islam and Feminism (1998). The courses she taught, especially Politics of the Middle East, reflected Haleh’s vast knowledge of the region, helping to establish the development studies cluster at York as one of the most influential and highly regarded in Britain and around the world.

Haleh saw no contradiction in being a feminist scholar and an educated Muslim woman with a deep knowledge of Koranic teachings and texts. When the Khomeini government attempted to prevent women’s access to education she declared:  ‘They’re scared of educated women. Because educated women can actually read classical Arabic, access the Koranic teachings, and demand their rights, contextualised in the Koranic teachings….taking on the Iranian government on its own terms…’. As a founder member of the Centre for Women’s Studies, Haleh firmly believed that only by addressing the needs of women, who because of their faith, ethnic identity, socio-economic or immigration status were often the most marginalised in society, would it be possible to tackle gender inequality. Along with Centre for Women’s Studies colleagues Mary Maynard, Delia Smith and Nicole Ward, Haleh attracted and supervised brilliant postgraduates from around the world, many of whom have gone on to become leading academics in their own right. Haleh also worked with Mary Maynard as series editor of the University of York’s Women’s Studies Book Series. 

Alongside her long career at the University of York, where she became one of its first female Professors of Politics, Haleh was also Visiting Professor of Islamic law at the Robert Schuman University in Strasbourg, France. She served as Chair of the British Association for Middle East Studies, Deputy Chair of the British Council’s Gender and Development Task Force and as Chair of the United Nations Association International Service, as well as numerous public commissions, committees and parliamentary bodies. Haleh Afshar was appointed an OBE in 2005 for services to equal opportunities and made a life peer in 2007. She was an academician of the Academy of Social Sciences and held honorary doctorates from the University of Essex, University of Kent, York St. John University and the University of Bradford.

Haleh is survived by her devoted family, her husband Professor Maurice Dodson and their two children, Ali Afshar Dodson, Molly Newton and grandchildren Kate and Hattie. Haleh always described her children as ‘her greatest achievement’ and she and the family shared the warmth and hospitality of their beautiful Heslington home with generations of students and visitors for whom there was always a bowl of delicious soup ladled out to the accompaniment of Haleh’s peeling laughter around their crowded kitchen table.

Among the music chosen when she appeared as a guest on Desert Island Discs was Edith Piaf’s ‘Non, Je ne regrette rien’. All who knew her would say that this was a fitting description of Haleh’s attitude to life.

Here are some tributes and messages for Haleh:

CWS Staff - Haleh was one of the founding members of the Centre for Women’s Studies, supervised numerous PhD students and was a key contributor to our teaching programme for over three decades. In particular, she was instrumental in internationalising the curriculum and encouraging us to challenge Eurocentric perspectives on gender and women’s lives. We have received a flood of touching tributes from past students attesting to the care and support Haleh gave them and to her inspirational teaching. She is remembered with respect and affection by all who worked with her. 

Jyothsna Belliappa - Her students recall her homemade soup and bread lunches, her generosity, the pride and affection with which she introduced us to other scholars or to
get colleagues in parliament, her relentless championship of her students...the annual Development Studies Association meetings where students could present ideas which were still in draft knowing that they would find a supportive audience. Here is a link to one of her annual ‘Women and Development’
conferences, this one part of our 25th anniversary programme

Hiranmayee Mishra - I am shocked to believe that Haleh is no more. I can never forget how much care and comfort she offered me during my stay in England. She was one of the reasons why I loved Heslington so much. It’s unbelievable that I can't drop her a mail anymore or even I can't talk to her in my thoughts whenever I am in a conflict. Her ever-smiling face and kindness, her loving voice and her constant supportas a supervisor created a personal relationship. I will remember her till we meet again. Wherever you are, rest in peace dearest Haleh, you will always be in my heart.

Anna Liddle - So sad to hear this. She was an amazing teacher and a fabulous woman. She was so generous to host our graduation after party. I was also thinking this morning about how inspirational I found her Women, Citizenship and Conflict and how it really sparked my interest for what was to become my career focus.

Rifat Mahbub - Without Haleh Afshar's important works in the early 1980s, academic research with ethnic minority women would have been even slower to bloom. A life worth living, and rest in peace, Haleh.

Anne Fairbank - So sad to hear this news. I hope her passing was peaceful. I have fond memories of my first trip to a conference in India with her.

Heidi Allene Henrickson - I’m so sorry to hear that she is no longer sharing this plane with us… we had such fascinating conversations about just that topic and global perspectives on “life on earth”… she was a wonder, and she enriched my experience at York!

Louise Livesey - Haleh was so inspirational and influential on my, and other people's, thinking and activism. Such sad news. May her memory be always a blessing on our lives.

Angham A Abdullah - Haleh inspired me a lot with her thinking and activism and she will always be remembered as a beautiful soul. May her soul rest in peace. 

Ihsan Sultan - Such sad news but we can celebrate her life and her many contributions and achievements at York University, she was a generous person and full of life. My condolences to her family. 

Linda Whiting - Sad news indeed. Haleh was an inspirational woman, both in the Centre for Women's Studies and in her support for the work of the University's Equality and Diversity Office when I worked there. Fond memories of our MA graduation party which she hosted in her home. Condolences to her family.

A commemoration for Haleh Afshar is planned for late July/early August this year.

Baroness Afshar of Heslington, Emeritus Professor of and Women’s Studies and Politics, May 21, 1944 to May 12, 2022

CWS End of Term Social 'Around the World' Picnic

Tuesday 14 June 2022, 1.00PM to 4:00PM

This event will take place on Tuesday, June 14th at 1pm and will go until about 4pm. It will take place in the Piazza Tipi outdoor space on Heslington East for our CWS students. 

CWS students are strongly encouraged to make and/or bring a dish.

For those making/bringing food, you don’t need to provide one serving for each person – instead think of this as more like a sampling. 

Plates and cutlery will be provided, however appropriate serving utensils should be provided with each dish.

Wine and non-alcoholic beverages will be provided! 

Location: Piazza Tipi outdoor space

FRACS Seminar - Entering the archive of second wave trans feminism(s) (Emily Cousens)

Monday 30 May 2022, 5.00PM to 7:00PM

Exploring independently produced journals and newsletters by trans community groups in the UK and US, this talk will chart the varying investments trans people had in the women's liberation movement of the 1970s- and the contribution that trans communities made to feminism's second wave.

Dr Emily Cousens (they, she) is a queer, feminist philosopher whose research is at the intersection of feminism and transgender studies. They are currently finishing their first monograph- Second wave trans feminism: revisiting approaches to sex and gender, which will be published with Palgrave Macmillan. Emily is a teaching fellow at the London School of Economics and the Visiting Lecturer in Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Oxford. She is also an editor of Engenderings and Media@LSE and founded the Free School of Critical Feminisms (previously the London Free School of Applied Critical and Feminist Theory) in 2017. 


Location: LMB/030X

FRACS Seminar - Film in research, film as research: reflections on the democratising potential of feminist methodologies in Hong Kong (Petula, Sik Ying Ho)

Wednesday 18 May 2022, 3.00PM to 6:00PM

This seminar, illustrated with film clips, takes the form of a reflexive journey through a number of research projects involving dialogic filming, set against the backdrop of social change and political turbulence in Hong Kong. The issues covered are diverse, including the life choices of mid-life women, what it means to be a man, and the gender politics of campaigns for democracy. The films shown offer as a glimpse into the lives of Hong Kong people, narrated in their own words, as they make sense of themselves, their society and the challenges they face. These films, however, are not just recordings of data – they are an active part of the research process, an ethnographic practice combining the camera as a research tool with a dialogue of action-reflection-participatory engagement involving issues of intimacy, including taboo subjects. The practice of interviewing here involves participants as active parties to research, engaging with the researcher in reflecting on what the dialogue between them produces.

Petula, Sik Ying Ho is Professor in the Department of Social Work and Social Administration at the University of Hong Kong. She is well known as a scholar, activist and public intellectual. Her work includes Women doing intimacy: Gender, family and modernity in Britain and Hong Kong (2020) co-authored with Stevi Jackson and Love and Desire in Hong Kong (2012), co-authored with Ka Tat Tsang. She is also author of I am Ho Sik Ying, 55 years old (2013) and Everyday Life in the Age of Resistance (2015). Her research projects explore the use of documentary films and multi-media theatre to integrate arts and scholarship. They include: 22 Springs: The Invincible (2010); The “Kong-lo” Chronicles, The Umbrella Movement: A Collaborative Focus Group Analysis” (2016); Labouring Women Devised Theatre (2019) and Our Imagined Future - If Someone Sees This After We Are dead (2021).

Location: LMB/030X

FRACS Seminar - The role of trade unions and feminist activism in addressing inequalities (Amy Keirl)

Friday 13 May 2022, 4.30PM to 6:30PM

Amy is a part-time MA student at CWS and a University of York alumni, having previously completed a BA in Philosophy at York in 2009. She works full time as a trade union Organiser for Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA), a union which organises workers in the transport industry. At TSSA she is responsible for organising reps and workers around equality issues, co-leading an LGBT+ campaign and delivering strategy around allyship. She is a long standing trade union member, trade union activist and feminist, with experience as a workplace union representative for both the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and the GMB. Whilst holding the position of FBU women's representative she was responsible for representing women in the fire service at regional and national levels around issues such as uniform, personal protective equipment (PPE) and maternity pay.

In this seminar she will be speaking about: 
- Raising political consciousness
- Trade union activism in the workplace and broader society 
- What is trade union conflict and why is it necessary?
- Tensions between trade unions, feminist activism & potential futures
- How to get involved in the trade union movement

Location: LMB/036A

GEMMA applications are now open

Posted on 26 April 2022

This is the call for self-funded applications to GEMMA and applications are open until 13th May 2022.

If you are in your final year of your undergraduate degree and considering an MA with a difference, you may like to apply foMA Women's and Gender Studies (GEMMA) with the Centre for Women's Studies (CWS).  It is a prestigious double Masters degree hosted by both UoY and six partner institutions in Europe.  


For more information please contact
GEMMA logo