Research

Publications

"No Longer Conforming to Stereotypes? Gender, Political Style, and Parliamentary Debate in the UK", with Jack Blumenau
British Journal of Political Science (Forthcoming, 2021)

"The Gendered Debate: Do Men and Women Communicate Differently in the House of Commons?", with Tone Langengen
Politics & Gender (
2021)

"Marion Fellows" Chapter in The Honourable Ladies: Volume II Profiles of Women MPs 1997–2019. (eds. Iain Dale and Jacqui Smith, 2019)

Ongoing projects

"Citizens’ Assembly on Brexit: Deliberation in a Polarised Setting", with Alan Renwick, Rebecca McKee and Graham Smith

"Familiar Issues: The Effect of Parenthood on Politicians' Issue Prioritisation"

"Man, 'I Feel Like a Woman': Men's Strategic Representation of Women's Interests"

Doctoral research

Focusing on the UK, my doctoral research examines the importance of gender stereotypes for shaping the behaviour of both politicians and voters in the UK. In my first PhD paper, "No Longer Conforming to Stereotypes? Gender, Political Style, and Parliamentary Debate in the UK" (joint with Jack Blumenau, accepted for publication, British Journal of Political Science), we identify a key limitation of prior work on debating style: that existing work has not considered how gendered patterns of style vary over time. We describe novel quantitative text analysis approaches for measuring a diverse set of styles at scale in parliamentary debates, and show how patterns have changed between 1997 and 2019. We find that while gender stereotypes were once accurate descriptions of men's and women's styles, they no longer are.

In my second PhD paper, "A Double Standard? Gender Bias in Voters' Perceptions of Political Arguments" (under review), I assess whether the styles politicians use influence how voters evaluate them, and whether this matters more for women than for men. Politicians regularly use anecdotal arguments, emotional appeals, and aggressive assertions when communicating with voters. However, that female politicians have been branded as 'nasty', 'inhuman', and 'unfeminine' suggests these strategies may come at a price for some. I report on a novel survey experiment assessing whether voters are biased in their perceptions and evaluations of politicians' communication styles. By manipulating politician gender and argument style I assess, first, whether politicians incur backlash when violating gender-based stereotypes, and second, whether differential perceptions of the styles themselves explains this backlash. I find that style usage has important consequences for how voters evaluate politicians, but that this is not gendered. These results have important implications as they suggest that female politicians may not need to conform to stereotype-expected behaviours to receive positive voter evaluations.

In my final PhD paper, "Man, 'I Feel Like a Woman': Men's Strategic Representation of Women's Interests", I seek to identify when and why men substantively represent women's interests in parliamentary debate. Introducing a concept of strategic substantive representation, I argue, and test empirically, that men stand to be rewarded electorally for this behaviour and will further women's interests at times when it is most visible to voters.