Dr Ashlee Christoffersen (BA, MA, PhD)
I am a Banting Postdoctoral Researcher at York University (Canada) and Honorary Fellow at the University of Edinburgh. Prior to completing my PhD, I held research and practitioner roles at the Equality Challenge Unit (now Advance HE), centred (a London-based LGBTQ community development organisation), the Trades Union Congress, and the Institute for Intersectionality Research and Policy, and Health Research and Methods Training Facility, at Simon Fraser University.
I hold a BA in Political Science and Women’s Studies (Simon Fraser University, Canada), an MA in Gender Studies (SOAS, University of London), and a PhD in Social Policy (University of Edinburgh).
Responsibilities & affiliations
- Co-Lead, Third Sector Trans Justice, Feminist Gender Equality Network
- Steering Committee, European Consortium for Political Research Standing Group on Gender and Politics
- Member, Equally Ours Research Network
- International Research Affiliate, Institute for Intersectionality Research and Policy, Simon Fraser University
Open to PhD supervision enquiries?
Past PhD students supervised
Reid Arno, 'The Rejection of Anarchism in Black American Liberation Thought, 1954-1993', MSc Intellectual History (Completed)
My research is concerned with the historic and contemporary operationalisation of the Black feminist theory of intersectionality in equality policy and practice: its influence and possibilities, as well as the discursive and material resistance it faces. I also have a particular interest in intersectional research methodology. Find out more about my research in these videos:
Applying intersectionality in research, policy and practice, ConveRACEions series, University of Edinburgh
1. As Research Fellow (2021-2023) and now Honorary Fellow on the inter- and multidisciplinary AHRC-funded project Gender equalities at work: an interdisciplinary history of 50 years of legislation (PI Prof. Louise Jackson), I explore how UK gender equality legislation was introduced, implemented and changed, in what contexts and with what consequences. I have a particular focus on the relationship between race equality and gender equality legislation, as well as the influence (and silencing) of Black and women of colour theory and activism and intersectionality. The project employs archival research and oral history interviews.
2. My PhD thesis The politics of intersectional practice: Representation, coalition and solidarity (European Consortium for Political Research Joni Lovenduski PhD Prize in Gender and Politics 2021, SPS Outstanding Thesis Award 2020) was based on the first empirical study internationally to explore how both practitioners and policy makers themselves understand how to operationalise ‘intersectionality’, and first in-depth exploration of intersectionality’s applications in the UK. My fieldwork was conducted with three networks of equality organisations (racial justice, feminist, disability rights, LGBTI rights, refugee organisations, and intersectional combinations) in cities in England and Scotland, through case studies employing interviews, focus groups, participant observation and documentary analysis. My PhD was funded by an ESRC studentship.
I developed a typology of five competing concepts of intersectionality circulating in UK third sector equality organising and policy, each with different implications for intersectionally marginalised groups and intersectional justice. Competing concepts are at the heart of the politics of who does intersectionality, and how. The Intersectionality in Practice website shares a report, animation and videos from this project.
View videos and slides of the cross-sector Equality and Intersectionality conference (2019) I organised with Leah McCabe, Cat Wayland and the Equality Network here. (SGSSS Research Impact and Knowledge Exchange Competition 2020, Shortlist).
3. My current project is called Operationalizing Intersectionality in Canada: Equality Policy & NGOs.
Canada is considered multicultural. However, recent years have brought injustices to international attention and seen a corresponding growth of racial and Indigenous justice movements. Accordingly, the Canadian government promised to apply ‘intersectionality’ in policymaking - the Black feminist theory that inequalities shape one another. This major postdoctoral research project will explore how this theory can be operationalized, with a unique focus on NGOs. NGOs (e.g. racial justice and feminist organizations) represent marginalized groups in politics and advocate policy solutions. What do NGOs recommend should be done? How do they understand and use intersectionality? I will explore these questions to increase understanding of how intersectionality can be applied in both policy and practice, with great potential to impact policymakers’ growing interpretations of intersectionality.
4. Race, Gender, and Political Representation Beyond Parliamentary Chambers, Principal Co-Investigator with Dr Orly Siow, Lund University and Newcastle University; funded by Newcastle University.
We explore the role and influence of equality NGOs in political representation, particularly in relation to the intersections of gender and race – namely, who has access to UK government ministers, and who influences them. While it has until now been difficult to quantitatively capture ‘behind the scenes’ aspects of the representative process, we meet this methodological challenge by providing a novel analysis of a newly-available dataset of 74,000 meetings between UK government ministers and external organizations. We investigate the effect of ministers’ racial, gendered, and partisan identities on a)whether and to what extent they engage with racial and gender equality organizations; and b)which organizations they engage with, in what contexts, and to what, if any, effect on public policy. We have presented the paper 'Intersectionality, access and influence: Who has the minister’s ear?' at four international conferences including the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting (all 2022).
5. As an independent equality research consultant I have completed a range of research projects related to inequalities concerning gender and race.
(2024!) The Politics of Intersectional Practice: Representation, Coalition and Solidarity in UK NGOs, Bristol University Press. Based on my PhD thesis which won the 2021 European Consortium for Political Research Joni Lovenduski PhD Prize in Gender and Politics and 2020 University of Edinburgh School of Social and Political Science Outstanding Thesis Award.
(2025) L Jackson, Ayada, S, A Christoffersen, H Conley, F Galt, C O’Cinneide. Equality at Work: Gender and the Mobilisation of Rights in the UK c. 1970-2020. Monograph. Under contract, Bristol University Press.
Christoffersen, A., Lai, A., & Meer, N. (Eds.) (2023) Advancing Racial Equality in Higher Education. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh RACE.ED and Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power.
Christoffersen, A. (forthcoming). The whiteness of ‘sex discrimination’: Theorising white feminist ideology in politics, European Journal of Politics and Gender.
Jackson, Louise A., Sophia Ayada, Ashlee Christoffersen, Hazel Conley, Frances C. Galt, Fiona Mackay & Colm O’Cinneide (2023) Campaigning against workplace ‘sexual harassment’ in the UK: law, discourse and the news press c. 1975–2005, Contemporary British History.
Christoffersen, A. (2023) Applying intersectionality in policy and practice: Unseating the dominance of gender in responding to social inequalities, socialpolicy.ch.
Christoffersen, A. & Emejulu, A. (2022) “Diversity Within”: The Problems with “Intersectional” White Feminism in Practice, Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society.
Christoffersen, A. (2022) Developments in the appropriation of intersectionality by white feminism in European policy, European Journal of Politics and Gender.
Christoffersen, A. & Hankivsky, O. (2021) Responding to inequities in public policy: Is Gender-Based Analysis+ the right way to operationalize intersectionality? Canadian Public Administration https://doi.org/10.1111/capa.12429
Christoffersen, A. (2021) The politics of intersectional practice: Competing concepts of intersectionality, Policy & Politics https://doi.org/10.1332/030557321X16194316141034
Christoffersen, A. (2021) Is intersectional racial justice organising possible? Confronting generic intersectionality, Ethnic and Racial Studies https://doi.org/10.1080/01419870.2021.1928254
Christoffersen, A (2020) Barriers to operationalising intersectionality in third sector community development practice: Power, austerity and in/equality. Community Development Journal Special issue Intersecting inequalities and prospects for Community Development. https://doi.org/10.1093/cdj/bsz025
Christoffersen, A (2019) Researching Intersectionality: Ethical Issues, Ethics and Social Welfare, DOI: 10.1080/17496535.2018.1541230 Jo Campling Essay Prize, Postgraduate Winner, 2018
Hankivsky, O, de Merich, D, Christoffersen, A (2019) Equalities ‘Devolved’: Experiences in Mainstreaming across the UK devolved powers post-Equality Act 2010. British Politics, special issue role of gender in British politics. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41293-018-00102-3
Hankivsky, O and Christoffersen, A (2011) Gender mainstreaming in the United Kingdom: Current issues and future challenges British Politics 6, 1: 30-51.
Hankivsky, O and Christoffersen, A (2008) Intersectionality and the determinants of health: a Canadian perspective Critical Public Health 18, 3: 271-283.
Christoffersen, A., Lai, A., & Meer, N. (2023) Introduction: Racial Justice Work in Higher Education in 2023. In Christoffersen, A., Lai, A., & Meer, N. (Eds.) (2023) Advancing Racial Equality in Higher Education. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh RACE.ED and Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power.
Christoffersen, A (2019) Are we all `baskets of characteristics?' Intersectional slippages and the displacement of race in English and Scottish equality policy. In Jordan-Zachery, J S and Hankivsky, O (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Intersectionality in Public Policy (1st Ed.). Basingstoke: Palgrave.
Christoffersen, A (2017) Intersectionality. In Freeman, R., McHardy, F., and Murphy D. (Eds.), Working for Equality: Policy, politics, people. Glasgow: CCWB Press, p.25-8.
Christoffersen, A. (2022) A wider type of freedom: how struggles for racial justice liberate everyone, Ethnic and Racial Studies.
Christoffersen, A. (2019), Inequalities in the UK: New discourses, evolutions and actions Edited by David Fée and Anémone Kober‐Smith Bingley: Emerald Publishing. ISBN: 9781787144804; £66.99 (Hbk.). Soc Policy Admin. doi:10.1111/spol.12544
Operationalising intersectionality in COVID-19 recovery. (2021). The International Public Policy Observatory (IPPO) blog.
Applying intersectionality in policy and practice. (2021). Policy & Politics blog.
Intersectionality, race and the Sex Discrimination Act: The construction of equality silos. (2021). Gender Equalities at Work.
Race, Intersectionality and Covid-19. (2020, 15 May). Discover Society.
Brexit’s consequences for marginalised women (2020, 8 March). The UK in a Changing Europe.
(2021) Intersectionality in practice: Research findings for practitioners & policy makers. University of Edinburgh.
(with Douglas Oloyede, F. & Cornish, T) (2021) Race Equality Charter Review. London: Advance HE.
(2018) Data protection and anonymity considerations for equality research and data. London: Advance HE.
(2018) Research Insight: Migrant female academics in higher education. London: Advance HE.
(2018) Intersectional approaches to equality and diversity in higher education. London: Equality Challenge Unit.
(2017) Intersectional approaches to equality research and data. London: Equality Challenge Unit.
(2016) Equality in colleges in Scotland: statistical report 2016. London: Equality Challenge Unit.
(2015) GENDER-NET analysis report: award schemes, gender equality and structural change. London: Equality Challenge Unit and GENDER-NET: EU FP7 n°618124.
(2015) Equality in colleges in Scotland: statistical report 2015. London: Equality Challenge Unit.
(with Behrens, A) (2014) Intersectionality literature review. London: centred. Also appears in HEAR Network (2014) Intersections Research Project. London: London Voluntary Service Council.
(2014) The London lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer voluntary and community sector Almanac 3rd Edition. London: centred.
(Ed.) (2012) The London lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender voluntary and community sector Almanac 2nd Edition. London: Kairos in Soho.
(with Standing, J) (2011) LGBT sector Supplement 1 The Equality Act 2010: What difference does it make? London: Race on the Agenda.
(2011) The London lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender voluntary and community sector Almanac 1st Edition. London: Kairos in Soho.