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Dr Rachel Alsop



I joined the Centre for Women’s Studies in 2018 as a Lecturer and Programme Director of the MA Women’s and Gender Studies (GEMMA). I have over 20 years experience of teaching and researching in the field of Women’s and Gender Studies, working previously at the University of Hull as co-Director of the Centre for Gender Studies. I have a BA in European Studies (specialising in Sociology and German) from the University of Bradford (1990) and a PhD examining the impact of German unification on women’s employment in East Germany, also from the University of Bradford (1995).  I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and an Editor of the Journal of Gender Studies.




My research interests within the field of Women’s and Gender Studies are broad and underpinned by a critical engagement with gender theories and a commitment to social justice. My current research focuses on contemporary developments in feminist theory; issues of body image (particularly in relation to aesthetic surgery); gender based violence and refugee and migrant women; and girls’ rights.

I have extensive experience of PhD supervision on a diverse range of gender-related topics, many with an international focus, and welcome enquiries from prospective PhD students.



The State of Girls’ Rights in the UK

My research with Plan UK culminated in the launch of the report The State of Girls’ Rights in the UK in September 2016. The research combines quantitative and qualitative methods to provide unprecedented insight into what it means to grow up girl in the UK. Across a range of themes and indicators, the research demonstrates how girls face multiple barriers in accessing their rights ( The report was covered by all of the major UK news outlets (see, for example: )and has been used byPlan UK in its successful lobbying of the government to extend sex and relationship education (SRE) in schools ( ).The findings were presented at the 2016 Labour and Conservative party conferences; the 2017 Women and Equalities Select Committee review into the Sustainable Development Goals cited the report as one of the key background documents for the review; the report was also presented in 2017 at the Senedd in Wales alongside the Full Circle’s manifesto for girls in Wales, and is already being used by Councillors and local services to campaign for girls’ rights. A photographic exhibition of images from the report was shown at the Leeds City screen BBC Big Screen as part of International Women's Day celebrations in 2017, and the research was featured on Radio 4 Woman's Hour as part of a special edition from Hull for Hull City of Culture, Women of the World Festival 2017.




Selected publications

Guest Editor Journal of Gender Studies Special Issue: 'Mary Wollstonecraft: Life, Work and Legacy' (f.c. 2019)

Alsop R. and S. Clisby (f.c. 2019) 'A Vindication of the Rights of Girls'' Journal of Gender Studies Special Issue 'Mary Wollstonecraft: Life, Work and Legacy'

Alsop R. and K. Lennon  (f.c 2019) Theorizing Gender Edition 2, Polity Press: Cambridge This is a completely updated edition of Theorizing Gender which was first published by Polity in 2002.

Alsop R (2018) ‘Albania: Reviewing the country of origin literature and addressing gaps in research’ (Conference Paper from ‘Breaking the Chains: Strategies to improve the prospects of Albanian children making successful protection claims’ 1 June 2018, Houses of Parliament)

Alsop R. and K. Lennon (2018) ‘Aesthetic surgery and the expressive body’ Feminist Theory, Vol.19, Issue 1 pp. 95-112.

L. Russell, R. Alsop, S. Clisby, L. Bradshaw and K. Smith (2016) The State of Girls' Rights in the UK Plan UK: London

R. Alsop (2015) ‘A novel alternative. Women, book clubs and workplace networking’ Women’s Studies International Forum, Vol. 52 pp.30-38


Full publications list

R.Alsop, S.Gonzalez-Arnal and M. Kilkey (2008) ‘The Widening Participation Agenda. The Marginal Place of Care, Gender and Education, Vol 20. No.6 pp.623-637

R.Alsop (2005) ‘Ethnography in English Studies’ in G.Griffin (ed.), Research Methods in English Studies, Edinburgh University Press: Edinburgh

R.Alsop, K.Lennon and A.Fitzsimons (2002) Theorizing Gender, Polity Press: Oxford

R.Alsop and J.Hockey (2001) ‘Women’s reproductive lives as symbolic resource in Central and Eastern Europe’, European Journal of Women’s Studies, Vol.8, No.4 pp.454-471

R.Alsop (2000)  A Reversal of Fortunes? Women, Work and Change in East Germany, Berghahn: Oxford



I teach on a number of team-taught CWS modules including ‘Approaching Women’s Studies’; ‘Feminist Histories - Feminist Historiography’; ‘Ways of (Feminist) Knowing’; ‘Feminist Research Methodologies’; ‘Feminism and Sexuality’. I am also module convenor in 2018-19 for ‘Feminist Histories - Feminist Historiography’; ‘Feminism and Sexuality’; and ‘Feminist Research Methodologies’.

Contact details

Dr Rachel Alsop
Senior Lecturer
Centre for Women's Studies LMB/157B
University of York
YO10 5GD

Tel: +44 (0)1904 32 4242