School of Sociology and Social Policy Research Seminar: Gender criticality and men’s participation in the movement to end violence against (some) women

We are delighted to welcome Jessica Wild (University of Westminster) to deliver the School Research Seminar.

Abstract: This paper discusses gender critical discourse as it relates to gender-based violence service provision and policy in England, via an analysis of interview data with men engaged in efforts to prevent or intervene in men’s violence against women. This sample was part of a wider survivor-led study which examined how to broaden the scope of responsibility for preventing and responding to gender-based violence, with emphasis on domestic abuse.  

Analysis reveals how some men involved in the anti-violence movement mobilise ‘radical’ feminist and gender critical discourses to account for their practices. Catalysed by reforms to the UK Gender Recognition Act 2004 (GRA) in 2017, gender criticality has surged in the UK, and has significant implications for certain groups of victim-survivors’ access to, or eligibility for, victim services, including refuges and other places of safety.  

Offering a discourse analysis of the men’s accounts, this paper holds that the supposed immutability of gender and sex difference which inhere in gender critical discourses simultaneously shore up a harmful transphobic rhetoric which functions to erase the experiences of trans women as ‘authentic’ victims of men’s violence. In this, is the erroneous conflation of the rights of trans women to be recognised as women and to live free of violence, with those of men’s rights to participate in women-only or women majority spaces.  

This paper has implications for gender-based violence intervention, for the conceptualisation of men’s role in men’s violence prevention, and for the design and delivery of inclusive victim-survivor services capable of addressing intersecting systems of oppression. 

About Jessica Wild

Jessica Wild recently began a postdoc at the University of Westminster, after completing an ESRC postdoctoral fellowship at Newcastle University. She completed her PhD in Gender Studies at the University of Leeds where she conducted a survivor-led study on gender and domestic abuse prevention and intervention.  

Prior to returning to academia to complete her Masters at Leeds Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies (CIGS), Jessica worked in the social sector for a number of years, running services for women with a variety of needs including homelessness, domestic and sexual violence, substance use and mental health challenges.  

More recently Jessica has also worked with a non-profit organisation to develop evidence-informed resources for social care services in England, with a focus on reforming child protection responses to domestic abuse. 

How to join the research seminar

The event will be held on Zoom, access the meeting via the link and joining details below: 

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Meeting ID: 832 3441 7878 

Passcode: 00Yzx+ 

No booking required.