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Undergraduate Essay Competition Winners Announced!

The PSA Women and Politics Specialist Group is delighted to announce the winners of our annual Undergraduate Essay Competition. This year’s judge, Professor Francesca Gains (University of Manchester), noted the impressive quality of the essay submissions, stating: ‘the standard of entries was incredibly high with all 11 of the essays submitted demonstrating a command of the literature they addressed and confident critical analysis of subjects which ranged from “The Industrial Vagina”; the banning of pornography; gender and climate change; gender and development; the gendering of criminology; and the gendered culture of Parliament. Each of these essayists should be commended for their excellent work.’

Our 2014 winners are:

1st Prize: Ellen Friend (University of Bristol) ‘Hunting Witches: Media Representations of “Non-Compliant” Woman MPs’

The judge said: ‘This essay (submitted by Professor Sarah Childs) links literatures on the media framing of women politicians (creating desirable gendered norms) with the analysis of the historic role of witch hunts in punishing trangressors of gendered norms. This part of the paper is very well-written with a strong line of argument that media treatment of women MPs who transgress gendered norms can be seen as a contemporary witch hunt. What, however, makes this paper worthy of first prize is the empirical work presented to illustrate this argument which drew on an analysis of the media reporting on the resignation of Maria Miller MP from Cabinet. This analysis, and the skill with which it is presented is very impressive at undergraduate level. Taken together the critical and creative application of theory to evidence provided a convincing case study on a subject of considerable contemporary relevance.’

2nd Prize: Rhian Williams (University of Leeds) ‘To what extent is Butler’s account of gender performativity helpful for understanding contemporary feminist politics?’

The judge said: ‘This essay (submitted by Dr. Jonathan Dean) addressed the question with both nuance and precision. It demonstrated outstanding critical writing skills of publication standard. It is beautifully and confidently argued and was a pleasure to read.’

Congratulations Ellen and Rhian!!!

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