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Dr Alison Parken FRSA, OBE

Dr Alison Parken


Lecturer in Management, Employment and Organisation

Aberconway Building, Colum Road, Cathays, Cardiff, CF10 3EU


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

  • Equal pay/ gender pay gaps
  • Low pay and pay progression
  • The gendering of labour markets and organisations
  • Mainstreaming equality within the workplace including knowledge economies and net zero
  • Intersectional equality mainstreaming (all dimensions of inequality) within policy making
  • Women in academia
  • Feminist theory and EDI theories

Evidence session and panel contributions

  • The Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee, National Assembly for Wales, Inquiry into poverty in Wales: Making the economy work for people on low incomes, Oral evidence session 19th July 2017
  • 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



Honours and awards

OBE for services to equality and diversity

Professional memberships

  • Equality and Human Rights Commission, Member of the EHRC Wales Committee
  • Fellow, Royal Society of Arts

Speaking engagements

  • 'A Feminist Government: Another opportunity to mainstream equality in Wales'?, Feminism, Gender Equality and Public Policy: Where are we now?, Institute for Policy Research Conference, Univeristy of Bath, 13th September 2018
  • 'Women in Wales – now and in the future!’, Wales Assembly of Women Annual Conference, Cardiff, March 2017
  • 'How to understand and tackle gender pay gaps', Fawcett Society, London: The Gender Pay Gap Conference, October 2016
  • 'How to understand and tackle gender pay gaps’ Major Projects Association, London: Gender Balance - the retention and promotion challenge, July 2016
  • 'How to analyse and tackle gender pay gaps: Learning from the WAVE programme’, Cardiff Business School, Breakfast Briefing, June 2016
  • 'From Evidence to Action: Gender Pay Gaps', British Islands and Mediterranean Regional Conference Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians Association,Guernsey, February 2016
  • NHS Workforce and Organisational Development Director Network Wales, April 2015
  • Programme Monitoring Committee for the Structural Funds, June 2015
  • Joint Council, Welsh Local Government Association, October 2015
  • NHS National Job Evaluation Network February 2015
  • 2014 'Examining Gender Pay Disparities', North Wales Public Sector Equality Network,
  • 16th May 2014, 'Building gender pay disparity analysis', NHS JE Leads Seminar,
  • 24th September 2014, 'A Woman's Place': NHS Leadership Seminar at Chwarae Teg,
  • 12/09/14, 'Examining Gender Pay Disparities', North Wales Public Sector Equality Network,
  • 16th May 2014, 'Let's Talk About Pay'! WISERD Seminar – Transforming Inequalities Research,
  • 7th April 2014, 'Working Patterns in Wales: Gender, Occupations and Pay', Wales TUC Equality Committee,
  • 2nd April 2014, 'Contract segregation and pay', Women and Economy Cross Party Group, National Assembly for Wales, 5th February
  • 2014 2013 'Equal Pay: The job's not done!', Annual Lecture, Women's Equality Netwrok Wales,
  • 12th December 2013 'Employment Information and Objectives' WLGA Equalities Network Meeting,
  • 24th September 2013 'The Welsh Specific Equality Duty for Equal Pay: Employer Gender Action Plans', presentation and briefing paper for joint Welsh Local Government Association and NHS Wales, Centre for Equality and Human Rights, Public Sector Equality Duties seminar series.
  • 2012 'Women Adding Value to the Economy' (WAVE), presentation to Wales European Funding Office' on aims, activities and outputs for the proposed ESF funded equal pay project.
  • Athena Swan Network, Wales and South West, May 2013
  • 2011 'We are not one: Exploring Multiple Identities', 'Collaborative Working; Dignity in Debate' (training), and presentation, 'Intersectional Mainstreaming Model: History and Application' at the Centre for Gender Social Iniquities and Mental Health, Simon Fraser University, Evidence Panel set up sessions for research on Self- Directed Care. Vancouver,
  • 26th April 'The future of gender mainstreaming/gender based analyses: intersectional approaches', Office of the Commissioner for the Status of Women Canada, Ottawa,
  • 29th April 'Key Findings' from 'An Anatomy of Inequality in Wales' research report for the Equality and Human Rights Commission, completed with colleagues from WISERD. EHRC conference, Conwy,
  • 30th March 'Key policy research to underpin the equal pay duty' Equality and Human Rights Commission Conference
  • 29th March 2010 'Total Control? The gendering of the Triple Helix', paper to the Gender in Public Policy stream of the Triple Helix V111 Conference, Madrid,
  • 23rd October 'Gender and the Knowledge Economy: Europe 2020', seminar presentation to the Agorada 2010 / Eurodite Final Conference, Brussels,
  • 5th May 'Gender and the Economic Renewal Programme', presentation to the management board of the Department for Economy and Transport, Welsh Assembly Government, Cardiff,
  • 4th November 'Gender and the Economic Renewal Programme', presentation to Equalities Unit of Department for Economy and Transport, Welsh Assembly Government, Cardiff,
  • 22nd September 'Multi-strand mainstreaming in the Public Sector Equality Duties', Realising Equality Conference, presentation on, Newport University
  • 13th July Guest speaker for Equality and Human Rights Commission Wales Annual conference – live panel response to film on social movements, Llandridnod Wells,
  • 9th June Speech on proposed Public Sector Equality Duty for Ministry of Justice and Government Equalities Office Conference: Diverting women away from Crime, Cardiff,
  • 8th March 'Pay disparities across the equalities strands', presentation at Bevan Foundation/EHRC conference Unequal Wales – Evidence and Action for Employment, Treforest,
  • 21st January 2009 The Benefits of Addressing the Gender Pay Gap' speech to WAG/EHRC conference on Equal Pay, Cardiff,
  • 11th March 2008 'Mainstreaming equality across the equality strands: Learning from experience in Wales', paper given to the Policy and Politics Conference 'Policy Transfer in a Globalising World'
  • 3-4th July, Bristol, 'Beginning Intersectional working', speech to the Institute of Advanced Urban Studies seminar, Gender, Sexuality and abuse in same-sex relationships, Bristol University,
  • 14th May Multi-strand mainstreaming' presentation to Age Concern Cymru Conference: Equality and Human Rights
  • 18th October 'Public Sector Equality Duties and Human Rights', presentation to the National Assembly Executive Board (now the Assembly Commission)2006 'Equal Pay and Mainstreaming Equality', presentation to the Welsh Local Government Association Annual Conference, Conwy,

Committees and reviewing

August 2018 - July 2019 Welsh Government’s Ministerial Gender Equality Review Steering Group



















Current Teaching:

Managing People - Cardiff Business School

Previous: gender theory, gender and employment, feminist theory, equality and diversity:

  • 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.
  • 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 for the Welsh Government, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Government Equalities Office UK,European Institute of Gender Equality, and Government of Malta

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

2019: Co–Investigator, GW4 Sustaining Communities Grant Award – Pay Equality Research Consortium (PERC)

With colleagues at Bath, Bristol and Exeter universities, the group is reviewing the current regulatory landscape for tackling pay inequalities, and with policy and practitioner colleagues, thinking about to increase their impact.

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:

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.