Sexuality, Gender and Citizenship Struggles: Influencing Policies and Building Capacity to Challenge Exclusion
Submitting InstitutionNewcastle University
Unit of AssessmentSociology
Summary Impact TypeSocietal
Research Subject Area(s)
Studies In Human Society: Policy and Administration, Other Studies In Human Society
Summary of the impact
Research on sexual and gender inequalities in accessing citizenship has
produced significant impacts by:
- Informing and influencing policy debate and formation in the UK and
EU, and within Nepali governmental organisations, NGOs, and with
international donors and agencies working in the region.
- Assisting the development of advocacy and policy implementation on
sexualities equalities in the UK through capacity building in local
authorities, healthcare, voluntary and community organisations, and on
post-trafficking citizenship issues through capacity building in NGOs
concerned with human rights in Nepal and internationally.
Richardson's pioneering research on gender, sexuality and citizenship
carried out over the past fifteen years, since her appointment as Chair at
Newcastle, has raised important questions about the way citizenship is
understood. Specifically, it establishes how citizenship is connected to
sexuality, as well as to gender, race and class (1, 2). This
theoretical work underpinned two major ESRC funded empirical studies, in
different global contexts, concerned with the rights demands of different
minority groups. This research has significantly advanced understandings
of how stigma associated with being outwith sexual/gender norms can make
accessing rights of citizenship difficult or even impossible in some
The first project (2007-2010) examined the implementation of sexual and
gender minorities' equalities initiatives in local government in England,
Wales and Northern Ireland (NI) (http://research.ncl.ac.uk/selg),
carried out with Dr. Monro at Huddersfield University. It highlighted the
importance of implementation mechanisms in driving forward the equalities
agenda for sexual and gender minorities, and identified barriers and
patterns of resistance to such work that affect implementation and access
to citizenship (4). A key research finding was that despite recent
legislative and policy shifts extending rights to sexual and gender
minority communities, sexualities equalities work is unevenly spread and
far from becoming normalised. Rurality, political hostility, lack of local
authority interest and associated stigma are limiting factors (5).
In particular, this research showed the importance of understanding
implementation processes and barriers for professional training and
practice, and for policy debates about the delivery of equality measures.
The second project (2009-2012), an interdisciplinary collaboration
undertaken with colleagues from Newcastle in Sociology (Poudel) and
Geography (Laurie, Townsend), is the first to systematically analyse
women's post-trafficking experiences (www.posttraffickingnepal.co.uk).
Most work on trafficking addresses its causes and characteristics, feeding
into policy frameworks targeting the `rescue' of those experiencing
diverse trafficking situations. Post-trafficking starts when these
scenarios end and describes the processes and practices associated with
leaving trafficking situations. Richardson's involvement in the team
brought conceptual expertise on sexuality and citizenship, and specific
skills in the empirical exploration of these issues. The research was
carried out through an innovative collaborative partnership with the
International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Shakti Samuha, one of
the first anti-trafficking NGOs, globally, to be founded by
post-trafficked women. It brought trafficked women's voices into policy
development and implementation in relation to human rights, which is
significant because post-trafficking issues intersect with access to
citizenship. The underpinning research shows that trafficked women are
typically stigmatised (labelled as prostitutes and/or `HIV carriers'), and
experience social rejection from their families and communities (6).
Lacking family support makes it difficult for them to access citizenship
and ensuing rights, as citizenship is typically conferred after the age of
16 through a male relative, usually a girl's father or husband. This can
result in post-trafficked women being unable to confer citizenship on
their children, either because they lack citizenship themselves or their
children were born in trafficking situations (and lack a known father).
References to the research
1. Richardson, D. (1998) `Sexuality and Citizenship', Sociology,
32 (1): 83-100. DOI: 10.1177/0038038598032001006
2. Richardson, D. (2000) Rethinking Sexuality. London: Sage.
Available on request.
3. Richardson, D. (2000) `Constructing Sexual Citizenship: Theorising
Sexual Rights', Critical Social Policy, 20 (1): 105-35. DOI:
4. Richardson, D. and Monro, S. (2012) Sexuality, Equality and
Diversity. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Paperback and hardback.
REF 2 output: 156669.
5. Richardson, D. and Monro, S. (2013) `Public Duty and Private
Prejudice: Sexualities Equalities in Local Government', The
Sociological Review, 61 (1): 131-152. REF 2 output, 170768. DOI:
6. Richardson, D., Poudel, M. and Laurie, N. (2009) `Sexual Trafficking
in Nepal: Constructing Citizenship and Livelihoods', Gender, Place and
Culture, 16 (3): 257-76. REF 2 output: 153963.
||Period of Grant
||Organisational Change, Resistance and Democracy: LGBT Equalities Initiatives in Local Government
||Economic and Social Research Council
||September 2007-March 2010
||£235,000 at full economic cost
||Post Trafficking Livelihoods in Nepal: Women, Sexuality and Citizenship (RES-062-23-1490)
||Economic and Social Research Council
||October 2009- April 2012
||£241,000 at full economic cost
Details of the impact
1) Influencing Policy Development and Debate
The sexualities equalities project's findings advanced
understanding of organisational resistance to implementing policies
granting new citizenship rights to sexual and gender minorities, which has
fed into policy debate and implementation in the UK (IMP1) and in
EU member states (IMP2). The research methodology was adapted for
a major policy survey of public officials in 18 countries by the Equality
and Citizen's Rights Department of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights,
in order to better understand and enforce EU equalities legislation. The
project has also influenced policies at regional and local levels. A key
finding was the importance of leadership to champion the equalities agenda
and bring others on board. This directly informed Newcastle Hospitals
Equality Delivery System which recommended that `people in senior
management positions... give a clear message about the importance of the
sexualities/trans equalities agenda in relation to employment
opportunities and all areas of service provision' (IMP3).
The post-trafficking research findings and participatory
methodology brought trafficked women's perspectives into policy
development and debates.
i) In Kathmandu, in February 2011, an Activist Workshop set up and led by
the research team brought together NGOs, donors, trafficked women and
high-level government representatives (80+). Preliminary research findings
were used to review NGO programming and led directly to the following
policy debate and political lobbying.
- Shakti Samuha, supported by the research team, drafted demands on
citizenship rights/livelihoods which were submitted to political parties
and elected government and Constituent Assembly (CA) core committees,
including the Fundamental Rights Committee (FRC). Six specific
recommendations that were raised from the Activist Workshop are listed
in this document regarding citizenship provision to women and children
in general, plus a number pertaining to trafficked women and children
whose mothers were sexually exploited abroad (IMP4).
- This led to the FRC Chair soliciting case studies of post-trafficked
women and their children's exclusion from citizenship from Shakti
- Case studies co-selected by Shakti Samuha and the research team were
then presented by the FRC to the CA recommending that `children
without having a father's known identity should be granted rights of
citizenship'. This demand was adopted in March 2012, and is
registered by the CA Secretariat to be ratified as part of the new
Constitution when the Secretariat and CA are re-elected (currently
scheduled for November 2013) (IMP5).
ii) As a technical expert to the National Committee in Controlling Human
Trafficking, the research team directly influenced recommendations on
access to social rights of citizenship for women post-trafficking (e.g.
housing, healthcare, victim support fund, education, livelihoods), later
endorsed by Cabinet in the National Plan of Action in May 2012 (IMP6).
iii) The American Bar Association used research findings to formulate
policy on witness protection and support services moving to ensure a `more
nuanced and survivor-centric framework for assessing survivors needs and
how justice actors should address those' (IMP7), citing the
collaboration between Shakti Samuha and Newcastle University in the
post-trafficking study as an example of best practice in their Human
Trafficking Assessment Tool Report (2011: 80-81).
iv) DFID's Asia social development agenda was directly informed by the
research team's input into the development, monitoring and evaluation
(M&E) of DFID's large anti-trafficking regional programme (£9.75
million: 2011-18). DFID's Senior Social Development Advisor for Asia
states `[y]our research helped us understand the complexity of
trafficking and how it works and how it interacts and who to listen to',
and that the research team's input into the M&E tender selection
process (Dec. 2011-Jan 2012) `gave professionalism, rigour and
expertise to our selection panel' (IMP8).
v) The research team influenced wider debates on post-trafficking through
extensive engagement with the Nepal media, including: over 11 TV and 25
radio interviews (some web-streamed internationally), 8 print media
articles (half in the major English daily, Kathmandu Post), and
conceptual input into the anti-trafficking documentary The Color of
Brave (made by Film Himalaya). Metrics on research project website
visits indicate impact on a large readership (51,932 visitors, January
2010-October 2013). Figures for the last year show 75% new visits, with
visitors from 10 countries (Google Analytics).
2) Capacity Building
The sexualities equalities research included Action Learning Sets
(ALS), groups which met four times, over six months in each of the four
case study areas of the UK. This had a direct influence on capacity
building networks for the 33 local government and voluntary/community
workers who took part. In each ALS members shared examples of good
practice and identified action points which were then reviewed at
subsequent ALS meetings, where the next steps for implementing action were
decided. For example, identifying LGBT equalities training available in
Northern Ireland (NI) was a key action point for the NI ALS. The next step
was to design and plan training, which resulted in a joint capacity
building event with the NI Equalities Commission in April 2010. In some
cases the ALS continued after the project ended; for example the Southern
England ALS organised a training workshop with a regional Equalities
Network. The underpinning research has also informed practice guidelines
in Local Authorities, housing associations, the voluntary and community
sector, and healthcare. For example, the Social Care Institute for
Excellence At a Glance Report cited the research findings in its
recommendations for the development of training programmes (IMP9).
The post-trafficking research generated impact through capacity
building to enhance survivors' input into lobbying for citizenship rights.
At the local level in Nepal, drawing on the research team's expertise, a
modular training programme in action-research methodologies was put
together. This was delivered to the Shakti Samuha leadership, which
consisted of 12 post-trafficked women, between 2010 and 2012. The
importance of this training was emphasised in their presentation `Trafficking
Survivors to Social Researchers: Reflections on a Journey' to the
`Making Livelihoods: Sexuality, Citizenship and Stigma' Conference
(Kathmandu, November 2011; co-hosted by IOM, Newcastle University and
Shakti Samuha; the conference attracted 100+ participants including CA
members and senior policy-makers): `Research conducted by survivors
themselves would be more effective and would help to identify the real
status of trafficking survivors, identify their needs and make
recommendations to stakeholders in order to fulfil their actual needs'
(IMP10). As a result of this training and with on-going
consultation with the research team, in 2012-13 Shakti Samuha designed and
implemented an action-research project to improve trafficked women's
access to justice when taking traffickers to court. Research insights were
also used to provide training at national and international levels to
AATWIN (2010), Nepal's national anti-trafficking organisation (32 member
groups), and via IOM Turkmenistan (2012), to high-level Central Asian
policy makers, setting the scene to shape policy agendas.
Sources to corroborate the impact
(IMP1) Newcastle City Council's Sexual Orientation Equality Plan
2008-2009, p.13. Available at: www.newcastle.gov.uk/wwwfileroot/legacy/cxo/equality/SOEPlan.pdf.
(IMP2) European White Paper (2011) Combating Homophobia: Local
Policies for Equality on the Grounds of Sexual Orientation and Gender
Identity, p.12. Co-funded by the EU Fundamental Rights and
Citizenship Programme and AHEAD (Against Homophobia European Local
Administration Devices). Available at: http://ahead-bcn.org/img/langform/LGBTmay2011eng.pdf
(IMP3) The Newcastle-upon-Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (2011) Evidence
for Equality Delivery System Grading, p.1, p.5. Available at: www.newcastle-hospitals.org.uk/downloads/Sexual_Orientation.pdf.
(IMP4) Shakti Samuha's Proposal to Change Current Citizenship Provision
in the New Constitution. 8 March 2011, Kathmandu, Nepal. Available on
(IMP5) The Fundamental Rights Committee's final submission to the
Constituent Assembly of Nepal, approved May 2012, p.5. Available on
(IMP6) The National Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons,
Especially Trafficking in Women and Children 2068 (AD 2012), Kathmandu
Nepal, May 2012, pp.7-15. Available at: http://www.nhrcnepal.org/nhrc_new/doc/newsletter/National%20Report%20on%20Traffiking%20in%20Persons%20%20Especially%20%20on%20women%20and%20Children%20in%20Nepal%20-%202012.pdf
(IMP7) Factual Statement by the then Country Director (Nepal) American
Bar Association, following attendance at the `Making Livelihoods:
Sexuality, Citizenship and Stigma' Conference November, 2011, Kathmandu,
Nepal. Available on request.
(IMP8) Factual Statement from the Regional Senior Social Development
Advisor, Asia Regional Team, DFID (Department for International
Development), London UK. Available on request.
(IMP9) Social Care Institute for Excellence, At a Glance 42:
Personalisation Briefing: Implications for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgender (LGBT) People, April 2011, p.4. Available at: www.scie.org.uk/publications/ataglance/ataglance42.asp
(IMP10) Factual Statement from the Chairperson of the Anti-trafficking
organisation, Shakti Samuha. Available on request.