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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. Current work examines digital gender-sexual violations, with a particular focus on upskirting and online abuse against feminists, and sexual harassment in the night-time economy. Recent work has focused on gender-based violence in universities and activism about it; how do we transform university environments, rather than just reforming them? Earlier research examined feminist activism and identiy among students, 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.

I co-organise, with colleagues in Law and Business, Northumbria University's Gender, Violence and Abuse Research Network (GVARN) which provides an intellectual home for the many colleagues with reseach expertise in these areas. 

My teaching in the Department of Social Sciences at Northumbria University includes specialist modules - Gender, Violence, and Abuse 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 Postgraduate 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

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:

'Sexual harassment in the night-time economy' with Dr Amanda McBride (Northumbria Uni), and Rape Crisis Tyneside and Northumberland, 2021

'Media coverage of upskirting' with Professor Sundari Anitha (Lincoln Uni) and Dr Amanda McBride (Northumbria Uni), 2020

‘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.


  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Image-Based Sexual Abuse: Online Gender-Sexual Violations, Hall, M., Hearn, J., Lewis, R. 12 Mar 2023, In: Encyclopedia
  • Upskirting: A Systematic Literature Review, Lewis, R., Anitha, S. 12 Apr 2022, In: Trauma, Violence, and Abuse
  • “Upskirting,” Homosociality, and Craftmanship: A Thematic Analysis of Perpetrator and Viewer Interactions, Hall, M., Hearn, J., Lewis, R. 1 Feb 2022, In: Violence Against Women
  • Feminist responses to sexual harassment in academia: voice, solidarity and resistance through online activism, Anitha, S., Marine, S., Lewis, R. 1 Feb 2020, In: Journal of Gender-Based Violence
  • Violence Against Women and Girls: Feminist Activism and Resistance, Wiper, C., Lewis, R. 2020, Victimology, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan
  • Explorations on the nature of resistance: Challenging gender-based violence in the academy, Lewis, R., Anitha, S. 2019, Palgrave Studies in Gender and Education, Palgrave Macmillan
  • Online/Offline Continuities: Exploring Misogyny and Hate in Online Abuse of Feminists, Rowe, M., Lewis, R., Wiper, C. 10 May 2019, Online Othering: Exploring Digital Violence and Discrimination on the Web, London, Palgrave Macmillan
  • 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: Policy, prevention and educational interventions, Lewis, R., Anitha, S. 27 Jun 2018
  • Gender based violence in university communities: Policy, prevention and educational initiatives, Anitha, S., Lewis, R. 27 Jun 2018

  • Sara McHaffie Co-producing articulations of autistic women’s feminist consciousness Start Date: 01/06/2021
  • Sara McHaffie Co-producing articulations of autistic women’s feminist consciousness Start Date: 01/06/2021 End Date: 03/05/2023
  • Clare Wiper Feminist Anti-Violence Activism in Austerity Britain: A North East of England Case Study. Start Date: 04/10/2011 End Date: 11/06/2019
  • Naomi Griffin Understanding DIY Punk as Activism: Realising DIY Ethics Through Cultural Production, Community and Everyday Negotiations Start Date: 01/10/2010 End Date: 30/07/2015
  • Amanda McBride High Spirits: young women's pleasure in the Night Time Economy Start Date: 01/10/2016 End Date: 17/12/2020
  • Lucinda Gillespie-Tomasevic Start Date: 01/10/2019 End Date: 07/08/2020

  • 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

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