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St Hilda's College
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Dr Ceri Fowler

BA Oxf, MSc Bristol, PhD Manchester


My research interests lie in gender and political behaviour, particularly elections and public opinion in the UK and Europe. I studied at St Hilda's College for a BA in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and at the University of Bristol for an MSc in Social Science Research Methods (Politics and International Relations), before completing my PhD in Politics at the University of Manchester. My thesis, completed in 2022, was entitled "Gender and Voting Behaviour at the UK's 2016 Referendum on European Union Membership" and won the PSA McDougall Prize for Best Thesis in the field of Elections, Electoral Systems, and Representation. Prior to joining St Hilda's College as Career Development Fellow in Comparative Politics in 2023, I held posts at University College London as an Associate Lecturer in Research Methods and Politics and at the University of Manchester as a Lecturer in Politics.

I am happy to receive media/public engagement requests on UK and European Elections, particularly (but not exclusively) to discuss gender, public opnion, and vote choice. I am also very happy to receive any requests with regards to widening participation and speaking in schools and colleges.

I currently teach the Comparative Government topics for the Practice of Politics paper to first-year students and the finals paper Political Sociology.

I have previously taught Comparative Politics/Government, Gender and Politics, British Politics, and Quantitative Methods.


1. Gender and Party Systems in Europe
My primary area of research interest is in how gender shapes values, attitudes, and vote choices in the UK and Europe. My research seeks to push beyond analysis which focuses on a singular “gender gap” or even “gender gaps”. Instead, it endeavours to understand how gender shapes the lives of individuals and the consequences for their attitudes, values, and vote choices, how this has changed over time, and how this varies across different social cleavages. For example, in my co-authored work in progress with Rosalind Shorrocks, we argue that the mainstream academic literature on electoral behaviour and party system change in Europe largely overlooks one of the major social transformations of the last century, in the form of the transformation in gender roles and women’s lives, and show that gender interacts with and influences the generational, educational, and occupational divides already found to be influential by said literature.

2. Rethinking the Gender Gap: Social and Contextual Effects
My research also considers, in a largely novel direction for the study of gender and voting behaviour, how social and geographic contextual effects may limit or exacerbate the effects of gender of vote choice, and how men and women might be affected differently in their political choices by their social and geographic context. In my PhD thesis and related papers (currently under review), I show that such contextual effects are key to understanding the lack of a gender gap at the UK’s 2016 referendum on EU membership. I demonstrate that the shared geographic and household contexts of men and women, and the social interactions between them, especially as partners and within families, have potential to align the values, attitudes, and vote choices of men and women even as the inequalities between them might lead us to expect them to differ in their political behaviour. At the referendum, for instance, I show that individuals were more likely to vote Leave if their partner was Eurosceptic (or Remain if their partner was a Europhile), and argue that this can help explain why only the youngest group of voters (18-24) showed a significant gender gap at the referendum, as they are the least likely to be married or cohabiting with a partner.

I am currently working on expanding this analysis to look beyond the Brexit referendum to consider how a variety of social and geographic contextual effects affect men’s and women’s vote choices across Europe and beyond,  investigating three key research questions:

RQ1: How do social contextual effects, such as an individual’s relationships with partners, friends, family, and colleagues at work, affect men’s and women’s values and voting behaviour?
RQ2: How do geographic contextual effects, such as (perceptions of) deprivation in or immigration flows into a person’s local community, affect men’s and women’s values and voting behaviour?
RQ3: How do social and geographic contextual effects affect the size and direction of gender gaps in values and voting behaviour cross-nationally?

3. Broader Themes of Gender and Comparative Politics in the UK
I am also interested in broader themes within gender and comparative politics, especially in the UK. In particular, I am working on projects on:

1. Gender, generations, and policy framing experiments
2. The relationship between how men and women perceive the Westminster parliament and political debate, and gender differences in political attention and participation.


  • Career Development Fellow in Comparative Politics


  • Politics