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Dr Ruth Lewis

Associate Professor

Department: Social Sciences

My research focuses on gender-based violence and feminist activism and spans Sociology, Criminology and Gender Studies. Recent work examines gender-based violence in universities and activism about it; how do we transform university environments, rather than just reforming them? I’ve also conducted the first victimological survey of feminists who experience online abuse. Earlier research examined legal responses to domestic violence, including perpetrators’ programmes, and a sociological examination of homicide.

A key reason for social changes around gender-based violence is the activism that generations of women have engaged in to change society. For my own part, throughout my career I have been involved in feminist activism and networks of various kinds, in and beyond universities. This has included helping to run domestic violence organisations, campaign for services and policy changes, organise conferences for practitioners, scholars and activists, raise awareness of the achievements of previous campaigners, and design and manage training about dealing with sexual violence.

My teaching in the Department of Social Sciences at Northumbria University includes specialist modules - Intimate Partner Violence at Level 6, and Sex and Gender in Society at Level 5. I also contribute to a range of other modules across undergraduate programmes and on our Ppostgraduate Training Programme.

As well as working in academia I have worked at the National Audit Office, as a Value for Money Audit Manager, and at the Women’s Sports Foundation as a Regional Development Manager.

Ruth Lewis


  • Sociology and Social Policy PhD June 30 1998
  • Sociology Diploma June 30 1991
  • Sociology MA (Hons) June 30 1990
  • Senior Fellow (SFHEA) Higher Education Academy (HEA) 2017

Key Publications

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Feminist responses to sexual harassment in academe: Voice, solidarity and resistance through online activism, Anitha, S., Marine, S., Lewis, R. 1 Feb 2020, In: Journal of Gender-Based Violence
  • Explorations on the nature of resistance, Lewis, R., Anitha, S. 2019, Palgrave Studies in Gender and Education, Palgrave
  • Special issue of Violence Against Women, ‘Transforming campus cultures: Activism to end gender-based violence’, Lewis, R., Marine, S. 1 Sep 2019, In: Violence Against Women
  • Gender based violence in university communities, Lewis, R., Anitha, S. 27 Jun 2018
  • Gender based violence in university communities, Anitha, S., Lewis, R. 27 Jun 2018
  • Gender, voice and space: Feminism online, Lewis, R. 1 Jun 2018, In: Digitos: Revista de Comunicacion Digital
  • “I get together with my friends and I change it”, Lewis, R., Marine, S., Keeney, K. Jan 2018, In: Journal of Gender Studies
  • Misogyny Online, Rowe, M., Lewis, R., Wiper, C. Oct 2018, In: Journal of Gender-Based Violence
  • Student feminist activism to challenge gender based violence, Lewis, R., Marine, S. 27 Jun 2018, Gender Based Violence in University Communities, Bristol, UK, Policy Press

PGR Supervision

  • Lucinda Gillespie-Tomasevic Start: 01/10/2019
  • Amanda McBride High Spirits: young women's pleasure in the Night Time Economy Start: 01/10/2016
  • Clare Wiper Feminist Anti-Violence Activism in Austerity Britain: A North East of England Case Study. Start: 04/10/2011

Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

My reseach focuses on gender, activism, violence and abuse. I have supervised six PhD students to completion and currently supervise four. I'm very happy to supervise PhD projects looking at gender, violence and abuse (online and offline), and activism.  

My recent research projects include:

'Tackling hate crime and online harassment on campus' Highr Education Council of England and Wales (£35) with Professor Mike Rowe. 2017-19.

‘Online victimisation of women: a case of abuse, activism and agency?’  (£7k) PI, with Professor Mike Rowe British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grants 2015-16

Young women students and feminism in the US and UK’. with Susan Marine, Merrimack University, USA. 2012-16

‘Feminism and women’s spaces’ with Elizabeth Sharp, Texas Tech University. 2014-15

‘Lesbians on Screen: How far have we come?’ with Julie Scanlon and Jackie Collins, Northumbria University. 2015-16

‘Women and Activism in the North East: reclaiming the past, mapping the present and projecting the future’ with colleagues in the Gender and Society Research Hub, Northumbria University 2016-17.



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