Details of the VSSN autumn seminar: Women and girls, feminism, and the voluntary sector


A Voluntary Sector Studies Network day event


Tuesday 8th November 2022 | 10am – 3pm | Hosted on Zoom and recorded | Free


The women’s voluntary sector is operating in a context of both increased difficulty and opportunity. Research points to the gendered impact of significant events such as austerity and Covid-19 (Fawcett Society, 2012; Women’s Budget Group, 2019; Women’s Aid 2020; IMKAAN, 2020; Sisters of Frida, 2012) and the impact on women’s organisations (Women’s Resource Centre, 2020; IMKAAN, 2016).


Increased attention, awareness, and media coverage of issues like sexual harassment and violence against women and girls, pay gaps, women in leadership, and trustee representation have brought issues of gender inequality to the fore in the sector. A new tranche of research and media exposés have revealed gender inequalities, discrimination, and assault against women within charities (Marriage 2018; Beaton et al., 2021; Dale and Breeze, 2022). Other work has shown how girls who volunteer are coerced and stereotyped in their recruitment and participation (Taylor-Collins, 2019; Lau, 2022). How gender intersects with other often discriminated-against identities is also growing in focus within the sector (Bassel and Emejulu, 2017). Yet women’s organisations within the VCS have historically not received recognition for their important work.


10.00-10.10: Welcome Jon Dean, VSSN


Session 1: Representation, and feminist values and methods.
Increasing gender balance in nonprofit CEO positions: How women make it to the top.
Jennifer Kruwinnus, Queensland University of Technology

Ten years evaluating gendered interventions for vulnerable women and girls: What works?
Louise Warwick-Booth, Ruth Cross and Susan Coan, Leeds Beckett University.

11.10-11.20 Break


Session 2: Timebanking and empowering. Analysing the feminist potential of time banks.
Juliette Wilson-Thomas, Manchester Metropolitan University.

Shifting power to frontline women’s organisations.
Rosie Learmonth and Kathy Siddle, Smallwood Trust

12.20-13.15 Lunch


Session 3: Girls’ and young women’s volunteering.
Exploring the ways that schools shape experiences of volunteering for working class girls.
Emma Taylor-Collins and Emily Lau, Social Care Wales and University of Kent.

Girl Voice and Leadership through Crisis and Change: How voluntary organisations and opportunities can empower girls and young women.
Sarah Dickins and colleagues, Girlguiding UK.

14.15-14.30 Break


Session 4: Mapping the women’s voluntary sector.
Women and girl’s organisations: mapping a ‘hidden’ sector and its funding.
Lorna Dowrick, Chris Damm and Cathy Harris, Sheffield Hallam University.


Break-out discussions: next steps in learning, research, and practice.

15.25-15.30 Closing remarks and next steps


The event will be held online on Zoom, on Tuesday 8th November 2022. It will be free to attend. Registration is open here: If you want to share details of the event with colleagues or your networks, then please do so; all attendees must register beforehand to get the relevant link. It has also been promoted on social media, so please do share.



Jon Dean, Lorna Dowrick, Chris Damm

Sheffield Hallam University