Gender-Based Violence in Higher Education: A Case Study of an Institution in England

Donna Chambers*, Angela Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Discussions of gender-based harassment, from causal incidents of sexism to serious sexual assault on university campuses, have gained currency in recent times. However, these discussions have tended to focus on gender-based harassment largely targeted at, and experienced by, female students. There has been much more limited work on gender-based harassment amongst the university workforce of academic and professional staff. That said, as a result of contemporary movements such as #MeToo, which exposed prolific incidents of gender-based harassment and sexual violence within workplaces, with focus on the film industry, there has been some attention on universities as places of work. However, we contend that the existing research in this area is insufficient and limited in scope, especially in the context of contemporary discussions about the importance of gender equality and quality education for sustainability as evidenced in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 4 and 5, respectively. Our chapter explores gender-based harassment from a British perspective, using survey data gathered from a wide cross-section of staff working in a higher education institution. There are two main aims. First, to explore issues of gender-based harassment from a variety of perspectives, including both men and women, those at different stages of their academic careers and in different academic areas. We also explore this phenomenon in different academic settings, chiefly at conferences, which are an important forum for the development and dissemination of new academic work, but which are often seen as ‘unsafe spaces’, mainly for women in the early stages of their academic careers. Our second aim is to develop narratives of emancipation for those who have been subject to gender-based harassment, which might be adopted in the development of more progressive university policies and practices. By problematising the issue of gender-based harassment amongst the university workforce we hope to contribute to UN SDGs 4 (Quality in Education) and 5 (Gender Equality).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGender, Sexuality and the UN's SDGs
Subtitle of host publicationA Multidisciplinary Approach
EditorsDrew Dalton, Angela Smith
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9783031310461
ISBN (Print)9783031310454
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2023

Publication series

NameSustainable Development Goals Series
VolumePart F2776
ISSN (Print)2523-3084
ISSN (Electronic)2523-3092

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