Ewch i’r prif gynnwys
Dr Alison Parken FRSA, OBE

Dr Alison Parken


Senior Research Fellow, Wales Centre for Public Policy

10, Adeilad Aberconwy, Rhodfa Colum, Cathays, Caerdydd, CF10 3EU


I'm involved in undertaking research which contributes towards building an evidence base for promoting socio-economic equality through policy-making and in organisational practices. My research interests include:

  • The reproduction of socio-economic inequalities through structures, systems and subjectivities
  • Equal pay
  • The gendering of labour markets and organisations
  • Gender mainstreaming, within employment, knowledge economies and workplaces.
  • Intersectional mainstreaming (all dimensions of inequality) within policy making
  • The intersections between gender and sexuality in organisational cultures and equality practice.
  • Feminist theory

Evidence session and panel contributions

  • National Assembly for Wales, Economy, Infrastructure and Transport Committee: Alternative Perspectives on the economic strategy, February 2017
  • The Government Equalities Office, Academic Expert Group on Gender Pay Gaps, July 2015
  • The Equalities and Human Rights Commission, Advisory Group on Equal Pay Guidance, October 2015
  • The Commission for the Status of Women, UK government NGO consultation, November 2015
  • The Women and Equalities Select Committee Inquiry into the Gender Pay Gap, December 2015


BBC Radio Wales, Wales@Work, on new gender pay reporting requirements for the private and voluntary sectors, March 2017




















I have taught on gender theory, gender and employment, feminist theory, equality and diversity for 15 years at both graduate and postgraduate level, receiving consistently excellent student feedback.

  • 2003 - 2011: M.Sc. Equality and Diversity, Cardiff University School of Social Sciences. Lecturer for the core modules: Mainstreaming Equality, Equalities Theory, Managing Diversity in the work place.
  • 2006 - to present day: M.Sc. Public Administration, Cardiff University Business School. Lecturer: Managing Diversity in the Work Place, Mainstreaming Equality.
  • 2000 - 2002: Lecturer: Gender Relations and Society, undergraduate (lecturers and seminars).
  • 1999 - 2001: Module Convenor 'Gender Theory I & II', MSc. Gender and Social Policy, School for Social Policy, Bristol University.

I have applied an evidence-based approach to equalities policy making throughout my career, using research to provide expert advice to Welsh Ministers, as a standing invitee to the National Assembly of Wales' Equality of Opportunity Committee (2004-2007) and a member of the Welsh Assembly Government Mainstreaming Equality Task and Finish Group.

I have undertaken policy research and provided recommendation on various aspects of mainstreaming equality to Chwarae Teg, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Government Equalities Office UK,European Institute of Gender Equality, Government of Malta, Welsh Government.

A recurrent theme in my research has been developing intersectional approaches to evidence gathering in order to support mainstreaming equality across public policy.

Research funding

2016: Co–Investigator, GW4 Accelerator Grant Award – Pay Equality Research Consortium (PERC).

With colleagues within Cardiff University, Rhys Davies, WISERD, at Exeter University, Professor Carol Woodhams (PI), Bristol University, Dr Gregory Schwartz and Dr Susan Milner, Bath University;  scope employer understanding of pay inequalities and intersectional interest in these, mechanisms for gathering and analysing employer workforce and pay data, and related legal, data protection and security parameters, scope data collection tools and submit a full bid to the ESRC for research funding with employers.

2015: Co-Investigator, GW4 Initiator Grant Award – Pay Equality Research Consortium (PERC).

With colleagues at Exeter University, Professor Carol Woodhams, Bristol University, Professor Emerita Harriet Bradley, and Bath University, Dr Susan Harkness; build a multi-disciplinary consortium of scholars interested in understanding how to research and analyse intersectional pay inequalities.

2012 - 2015: Programme Director, Cardiff University research and programme delivery team for the ‘Women Adding Value to the Economy’, WAVE, programme.

Secured £1.1m to research gender employment and pay inequalities with employers, undertake labour market research and create the Equal Pay Barometer.

Cardiff University was a partner in this £4m programme which was  joint funded by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government, with joint sponsors the University of South Wales, The Women’s Workshop and Cardiff University.

Women Adding Value to the Economy (WAVE) at Cardiff University

Brief summary of our research and engagement activities

Employer case studies

To support the implementation of the Welsh 'equal pay duty', we demonstrated how the required workforce and pay data analysis should be undertaken. We worked collaboratively with three large public sector employers who had already completed job evaluation and equal pay audits. However, our findings showed how occupational segregation (by job, by working patterns and within the hierarchy), will continue to reproduce gender pay gaps unless inequalities in the structure of employment are addressed. Supported by the CU WAVE team, a gender pay analyst and change management consultant, these three employers have now created internal management teams, committed to addressing these issues through workforce planning and organisational development.

CU WAVE will release a Gender Employment and Pay Analysis Method (GEPA) so that all public sector organisations in Wales can replicate our case studies analysis. The Welsh Ministers Report on Equality (2014) supports the use of this method for reporting against the 'equal pay duty'.

Gender Employment and Pay Network (GEPN)

The Gender, Employment and Pay Network (GEPN) met quarterly to discuss the anonymised results from the Employer Case Studies and the development of the GEPA method. The seminars have also provided 'unconscious bias' training, and regular updates on the innovative change management measures currently underway in the employer case study organisations.

Equal Pay Barometer (EPB)

This on-line tool provides information on the gender composition of occupations, working patterns and pay in Wales.  The EPB was launched at Arriva Trains Wales, where young women from Treorchy Comprehensive School tried out the driver-training simulator: http://www.wavewales.co.uk/equal-pay-barometer/

Qualitative research

We have completed two qualitative research studies with the participants of two ICT training programmes run by our partner organisation The Women's Workshop at BAWSO. The findings provide vital insights into how to encourage women in careers in these occupations in future.

External engagement

Research findings and recommendations have been presented by us or drawn upon by others at:

  • Plenary discussions in the Synedd
  • NAW Cross Party Group for Women and the Economy
  • Welsh Government Women in Business Conference
  • European Conference on the future of Gender Mainstreaming (Brussels)
  • NHS Equality and Diversity Staff Council
  • NHS Job Evaluation managers and trainers conferences
  • WLGA Equality Network meeting
  • Public Sector Equality Network North Wales, equal pay seminar
  • The CU WAVE Women and Leadership public seminar
  • Chwarae Teg/ Academi Wales – Women in Leadership Group
  • The WEN Wales, Inaugural Annual Lecture
  • The Women's Workshop @ BAWSO Mentoring networks
  • The Design Council for Wales
  • The WAVE project launch event
  • The launch of the Equal Pay Barometer at Arriva Trains

Press and publicity

Our report, Working Patterns in Wales: Gender, Occupations and Pay (Parken, Pocher and Davies, 2014) has underpinned significant coverage of gender of employment and pay issues in the workplace within Welsh and UK media, and on social media.


Past projects