The Eleanor Rathbone Social Justice Public Lectures 2015-16

Eleanor Rathbone Social Justice Public Lectures 2015-16

The Eleanor Rathbone Social Justice Public Lectures is a long-standing annual public lecture series hosted by the Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology, within the School of Law and Social Justice at the University of Liverpool.

The 2015/16 series of lectures is particularly significant given that 2016 marks the 70th anniversary of Eleanor Rathbone’s death. As such, the forthcoming series of lectures will address explicitly three issues that were central to Eleanor’s work: (i) refugees and migrants (ii) women, citizenship and democracy and (iii) family allowances:

The next lecture is Wednesday 24 February 2016

RER A3 poster

Professor     Susan Pedersen (Columbia University, New York)

Women and the Quest for Equal Citizenship‘  Wednesday 24 February, 2016   5 pm – 7 pm

Eleanor Rathbone (1872-1946) was remarkable for the number and range of causes she took up. Perhaps her most profound commitment, however, was to women’s equality. This lecture examines Rathbone’s unflagging effort to secure ‘equal citizenship’ for women. It explores what she meant by the term and the campaigns she launched, first in Liverpool and then nationally and internationally, to achieve it. Rathbone was unusual in that she was both a staunch advocate of women’s equal right to participate in all spheres of life, and a sharp and perceptive critic of the inherent gender bias of the very institutions they sought to join. The lecture will then turn to some of our political and social arrangements today, and our feminist politics, in light of her analysis.Women are ‘equal citizens’ legally and politically, but our political, economic and international arrangements still require the ‘feminist refashioning’ that Rathbone called for three-quarters of a century ago.


Professor the Baroness (Ruth) Lister of Burtersett  (Loughborough University)

Women and Children First? Social Justice in an Age of Austerity’   Wednesday 11 May, 2016   5 – 7 pm

The lecture will take as its starting point Eleanor Rathbone’s classic work The Disinherited Family to explore

current social policy issues including the ‘living wage’, financial support for children and social security (aka

‘welfare’). It will address the implications for child poverty and children’s rights of current policies, making the

link with women’s poverty and autonomy. The lecture will critically examine the political rhetoric used to frame

current policies and argue for a less divisive and more inclusive understanding of ‘fairness’ and ‘social justice’.


The first lecture, ‘Undocumented Migrants: Surviving Without Rights‘ was delivered by Professor Alice Bloch, (University of Manchester) on Wednesday 21 October, 2015,  5 pm – 7 pm

These free public lectures will take place in the Hearnshaw Lecture Theatre, Eleanor Rathbone Building, University of Liverpool. For further details visit


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