Important new report on career progression in politics & international relations departments published today by the Political Studies Association (PSA) & the British International Studies Association (BISA).


The PSA is pleased to publish, in partnership with BISA, this important new report authored by Professor Chris Hanretty of Royal Holloway, University of London.


This report brings together data relating to the gender, ethnicity, and other characteristics of those working in Higher Education departments, and draws the following conclusions:

  • Senior positions in politics and international relations continue to be heavily dominated by White men
  • The data was not sufficient to allow the identification of clear differences based on sex, ethnicity or other characteristics when it comes to promotions
  • There is a particular paucity of BAME staff at senior levels in Politics and International Relations departments. The likelihood of BAME staff occupying senior academic ranks is shown to be lower in Politics and International Relations than other social science disciplines
  • Staff from ethnic minorities have a higher risk than their White counterparts of exiting UK Higher education
  • At the current rate of progression, we will not reach gender equality in senior ranks within Politics and International Relations departments until 2045/46.


PSA Chair, Professor Roger Awan-Scully, commented: “My three key priorities as PSA Chair are Excellence, Sustainability and Diversity. We are very grateful to Professor Hanretty for producing this important work on the diversity of our discipline. It often makes for uncomfortable reading, but that is all the more reason why this report should be widely read. As the PSA, we call upon Higher Education Institutions, and colleagues leading Politics and International Relations departments, to redouble their efforts to ensure that the academy welcomes and nurtures a diverse community of scholars who also reflect the diversity of our society.”


PSA Executive Committee lead on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Dr Kate Mattocks, added: “The findings in this important report add to a growing body of work demonstrating inequalities in the discipline. Who the discipline is composed of is a political matter and has knock on effects in terms of what is studied and taught, and indeed in how ‘the political’ is defined, in UK political studies. The findings on race and ethnicity in particular, are troubling, and yet not surprising. Further qualitative work is needed in order to investigate in more detail some of the experiences behind these numbers.”  


The PSA is also delighted to announce that, today, we are launching a survey of its 1600 academic members to gather more insights on the make-up of our membership and what they have experienced. PSA Chief Executive, Michelle Doyle Wildman, remarked “The report’s findings confirm what many have shared anecdotally for a number of years. The PSA is committed to playing its part in driving some long overdue change. The majority of PSA Members share our concerns and I encourage them to take part in this survey to help us build a more rounded picture of our community and prioritise where action needs to happen.”






Author biography

Chris Hanretty is Professor of Politics at Royal Holloway, University of London.