My research interests revolve around questions of identity, representation, and leadership in Canadian and Ontario politics. My current focus is on analysing and finding solutions to gender-based violence in politics. Women and gender are often central to my studies. I take an interdisciplinary approach to my research, drawing on scholarships from political science, sociology, women's studies and Canadian studies, to name a few.
Depending on the project and the questions I want to address I also use both qualitative and quantitative methods. Most of my research is collaborative, and I have been very fortunate to work with and learn from some outstanding scholars and practitioners along the way.
My research on gender-based violence in Canadian politics was featured in a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) article, which you can read here.
In 2022, I won the Jill Vickers Award from the Canadian Political Science Association for the best conference paper presented on gender and politics in the preceding year. I previously won this award in 2013.
Below you can read a bit about some of my recently funded projects:
Women in the (Other) House: An Analysis of Gender Representation in Canada's Senate (2015-2019)
This project is funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Insight Grant (2020-2025). In it, I seek to study women's representation in the Senate of Canada. The central research question of this study asks: what does a gender-balanced Senate mean for women’s equality outcomes in Canada? To answer this question, the project has three objectives: (1) to analyse the Senate’s institutional rules and norms from a gendered perspective; (2) to evaluate women’s representative roles in this institution; and (3) to examine how and in what ways gender considerations have been integrated into the Senate’s legislative processes.
Gendering the Upper House: Combatting Sexual Harassment in Canada’s Senate in the #MeToo Era
This project was funded by a James R. Mallory Grant (2019-2020) from the Canadian Study of Parliament Group. In this study, I analyse recent efforts to address sexual harassment in the Canadian Senate from a gendered perspective. The goal of the project was to further develop best practices for legislative bodies seeking to (re)design rules that prohibit violence against women who work in legislatures, broadly defined (ie. administrative and political staffers, Senators, members of the press, visitors, interns, etc..).
Understanding Violence Against Women in Politics
This project was funded by a SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant (2017-2018) in partnership with Equal Voice, a non-profit organization that seeks to promote more women in Canadian politics. The study includes a cross-institutional team of Dr. Cheryl Collier (University of Windsor), Dr. Grace Lore (Equal Voice) and Andrea Spender (PhD in Policy Studies student). As Principal Investigator, I co-authored a comprehensive scope report with the team that tracks incidents of violence against women in Canadian politics. It also proposes solutions to address this problem that are targeted at political leaders, political parties, social media companies, civil society organizations and members of the public. You can read the report here.
Gendering Canada's Legislatures: a comparative examination of federal, provincial, and territorial efforts to combat sexism and sexual harassment in politics
This project is in partnership with Dr. Cheryl N. Collier (University of Windsor) and is funded by an Insight Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (2018-2022). In this project our goal is to understand how legislatures across Canada have sought to address the problem of sexual harassment in politics. To do so, we employ a Feminist Institutional perspective to examine the codes of conduct and policies at the federal and provincial level in Canada. We are interested in assessing how and why some legislatures have responded to this problem while others have not, and for those that have adopted formal rule changes, whether we can expect these changes will make legislatures safer for women politicians.
Symbolic Entrepreneurs: The Role of Party Leaders in Constructing National Identity in Canada
This project was in partnership with Dr. Tim Nieguth (Laurentian University) and was funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Development Grant (2015-2017). In this project our goal was to understand how party leaders use political symbols to craft distinct versions of national identity. Our research focuses broadly across several symbolic domains: Speeches From the Throne, banknotes, official state apologies, and political campaigns/party platforms. Our aim is to show, firstly, how symbols can be used for strategic purposes by political leaders and secondly, the malleability of national identity over time. You can find some of these publications on my publications tab above.
Other projects include research on voter perceptions of sexual harassment in politics, western regional identities in Canada, and gender, race, and decorum in Canada's Parliament.