Professor Sarah Childs

Professor Sarah Childs

Professor Sarah Childs
Professor of Politics and Gender

G.05, 10 Priory Road,
11 Priory Road, Clifton, Bristol
(See a map)

Telephone Number (0117) 928 8239

School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies

Personal profile

Professor, Univ of Bristol, Aug. 2009-; Senior lecturer, Univ. of Bristol, Aug. 2005-2008; Lecturer, Univ. of Bristol, Sept 2003-March 2005; Lecturer, Middlesex Univ., Jan. 2001-Sept.03;


My research centres on the relationships between sex, gender and politics. It is concerned, both theoretically and empirically, with questions of women's descriptive, symbolic and substantive representation. I have published extensively on women's political representation in the UK since 1997, especially regarding the feminization of British political parties and the recruitment of women to the UK Parliament, with monographs on New Labour's Women MPs (2004), Women and British Party Politics (2008) and the Sex, Gender and the Conservative Party (2012, with Webb). My work on the substantive representation of women ('acting for' women) provides empirical evidence to support claims that had been made by feminist political theorists of a link between women’s descriptive and substantive representation at the same time as offering a critique of the concept of critical mass (Childs and Krook 2006; 2008). This has shifted how the gender and politics community conceptualize the relationship and has given rise to debates about how best to study women’s representation (Celis et al 2008). In turn, this has fed into new research on how women representatives experience and act in the UK parliament as gendered institution. Current research looks at gender and intra-party democracy and gender and party regulation, and conservatism feminism and representation.

Blogs on LSE website:
The Prime Minister's snubs to female MPs are a sympton of the Conservative party's failure to 'feminise' politics.
The revived debate on abortion is not simply dog whistle politics, but a threat to women's rights.


My teaching reflects my research expertise in gender and British Politics.

31351 The Politics of Gender; 31336 The British Parliament. I also take seminars on British Politics and Policy, 21222.


PhD Supervision: Women's Political Representation; Parliament; Political partie; and UK Politics.

Key publications

  1. Childs, S, 2008, ‘Women and British Party Politics’. Routledge
  2. Childs, S & Krook, M, 2006, ‘Should Feminists Give Up on Critical Mass? A Contingent Yes’. Politics and Gender, vol 2 (4)., pp. 522 - 530
  3. Childs, S, 2004, ‘New Labour's Women MPs: Women Representing Women’. Routledge
  4. Childs, S & Philip, C, 2011, ‘The Politics of Local Presence: is there a case for descriptive representation?’. Political Studies, vol 59., pp. 1 - 19
  5. Childs, S & Webb, P, 2012, ‘Sex, Gender and the Conservative Party: From Iron Lady to Kitten Heels’. Palgrave Macmillan Ltd.

Latest publications

  1. Childs, SL & Kittilson, M, 2016, ‘Feminizing Political parties: Women's party member organizations within European parliamentary parties’. Party Politics, vol 22., pp. 598-608
  2. Celis, K, Childs, SL & Curtin, J, 2016, ‘Specialised Parliamentary Bodies and the Quality of Women's Substantive Representation: A Comparative Analysis of Belgium, United Kingdom and New Zealand’. Parliamentary Affairs, vol 69., pp. 812-829
  3. Childs, S, 2016, ‘The Good Parliament’. University of Bristol Report
  4. Childs, SL & , R, 2015, ‘Feminization and the Representation of Women’. British Politics.
  5. Childs, SL & campbell, r, 2015, ‘The Coalition and Women: 2010-2015’. in: The Coalition Effect. Cambridge University Press

Full publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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