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School of Business and Management

Professor Gill Kirton


Professor of Employment Relations; Deputy Dean for School of Business and Management

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 7439
Room Number: Room 4.25g, Francis Bancroft Building, Mile End Campus




Gill Kirton’s academic career spans around 25 years. Prior to joining Queen Mary University of London in 2003, she worked in the business schools of University of Hertfordshire and University of North London (now London Metropolitan University). Gill had a previous career in non-profit organisations advocating and campaigning for workplace equality, experience which has influenced her academic research interests. Gill has taught a range of subjects/modules at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels in the field of HRM focusing in particular on Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) qualifications and on equality, diversity and inclusion.


Research Interests:

Gill's research interests are in the field of employment relations with a particular focus on workplace gender and equality. Her recent work explores employers’ return-to-work programmes aimed at women who have taken career breaks; working conditions and equality issues in nursing and midwifery and in the probation service; the roles and activities of women and equality actors within trade unions; organisational diversity management as a field of professional practice; equality and diversity in IT work. Her published books include: Gender and Leadership in Trade Unions (2013) (with Professor Geraldine Healy), The Dynamics of Managing Diversity (2000, 2005, 2010; 2016; 2021) (with Professor Anne-marie Greene); Equality, Inequalities and Diversity (2010) (with Professors Geraldine Healy and Mike Noon). She has also published her work in leading journals including The British Journal of Industrial Relations, Human Relations, Human Resource Management Journal, Economic and Industrial Democracy, The Industrial Relations Journal, Work, Employment and Society, and Gender, Work and Organization. For some years recently she was an Associate Editor of the journals Gender, Work and Organization and Human Resource Management Journal.

Centre and Group Membership:



  • Kirton, G and A.M. Greene (2016) (4th Edition) The Dynamics of Managing Diversity, Oxford: Elsevier
  • Kirton, G. and G. Healy (2013) Gender and Leadership in Trade Unions, London: Routledge
  • Healy, G; G. Kirton and M. Noon (2010) (eds.) Equality, Inequalities and Diversity, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Greene, A. M. and G. Kirton (2009) Diversity Management in the UK – Organizational and Stakeholder Experiences, London: Routledge
  • Kirton, G. (2006) The Making of Women Trade Unionists, Aldershot: Ashgate     
  • Glover, J. and G. Kirton (2006) Women, Employment and Organizations, London: Routledge

Refereed journal articles

  • Kirton, G. (2021). ‘Union framing of gender equality and the elusive potential of equality bargaining in a difficult climate’. Journal of Industrial Relations,
  • Greene, A.M.; G. Kirton; M. Koumenta and A. Humphries (2021). ‘The gender representation gap: implications for workplace union effectiveness’. Industrial Relations Journal, 52:1, 40–63
  • Kirton, G. and A.M. Greene (2019). ‘Telling and selling the value of diversity and inclusion – external consultants’ discursive strategies and practices.’ Human Resource Management Journal
  • Kirton, G. and C. Guillaume (2019). ‘When welfare professionals encounter restructuring and privatization: The inside story of the probation service of England and Wales.’ Work, Employment and Society
  • Kirton, G. (2019). ‘Unions and equality: 50 years on from the fight for fair pay at Dagenham’ Employee Relations
  • Kirton, G. and M. Robertson (2018). ‘Sustaining and advancing IT careers: Women’s experiences in a UK based IT company’ Journal of Strategic Information Systems.
  • Kirton, G. and C. Guillaume (2018). ‘Work, employment and engagement conditions in a female-dominated public service occupation after restructuring/outsourcing.’ Industrial Relations Journal 48:5-6, 482–499
  • Guillaume, C. and G. Kirton (2018). ‘NAPO, un cas exemplaire des difficultés rencontrées par les syndicats britanniques du public.’ Sociologie du Travail
  • Guillaume, C. and G. Kirton (2017). ‘Challenges and pitfalls for workplace unionism in a restructured public service.’ Economic and Industrial Democracy
  • Kirton, G. (2017). ‘From ‘a woman’s place is in her union’ to ‘strong unions need women’: changing gender discourses, policies and realities in the union movement’. Labour and Industry
  • Kirton, G.; M. Robertson and N. Avdelidou-Fischer (2016) Valuing and value in diversity: the policy implementation gap in an IT firm. Human Resource Management Journal
  • Kirton, G. (2015) Anatomy of women’s participation in small professional unions. Economic and Industrial Democracy
  • Kirton, G. (2015) The Coalition of Labor Union Women: Still a Space of Social Creativity and a Force for Social Change? Labor Studies Journal 40(2): 129-148
  • Avdelidou-Fischer, N. and G. Kirton (2015) Beyond burned bras and purple dungarees: Feminist orientations within working women’s networks. European Journal of Women’s Studies
  • Seierstad, C. and G. Kirton (2015) Having It All? Women in High Commitment Careers and Work–Life Balance in Norway Gender, Work and Organization 22(4): 390-404
  • Kirton, G. (2015) ‘Progress towards gender democracy in UK unions 1987-2012’. British Journal of Industrial Relations
  • Kirton, G. and G. Healy (2013) Stratégies en faveur de la démocratie de genre dans les syndicats. Travail, Genre et Sociétés
  • Healy, G. and G. Kirton (2013) ‘The early mobilization of women trade union leaders – a comparative perspective.’ British Journal of Industrial Relations
  • Kirton, G. and G. Healy (2013) ‘Commitment and collective identity of long-term union participation: the case of women union leaders in the UK and USA’. Work, Employment and Society, 27(2): 195-212
  • Kirton, G. and G. Healy (2012) ‘Lift as you rise’: union women’s leadership talk’. Human Relations, 65(8): 979-999
  • Kirton, G. and G. Healy (2012) ‘Women’s union leadership in Barbados: exploring the local within the global.’ Journal of Leadership & Organizational Development
  • Greene, A. M. and G. Kirton (2010) ‘Diversity management meets downsizing: the case of a government department’, Employee Relations, 33(5)
  • Healy, G., G. Kirton, M. Ozbilgin and F. Oikelome (2010) ‘The Politics of Assessment Centres: competing rationalities in the diversity project of the judiciary’, Human Relations, 63(4)
  • Kirton, G. and A.M. Greene (2010) ‘What does diversity management mean for the gender equality project? Views and experiences of organizational actors in the UK’ Canadian Journal of Administrative Science, 27(3): 240-262
  • Kirton, G. and G. Healy (2009) ‘Using competency-based assessment centres to select judges – Implications for equality and diversity.’ Human Resource Management Journal, 19(3): 302-318
  • Kirton, G. (2009) ‘Career Plans and Aspirations of Recent Black and Minority Ethnic Business Graduates’, Work, Employment and Society, 23(1): 12-29
  • Kirton, G. and A. M. Greene (2009) ‘The Costs and Opportunities of Doing Diversity Work in Mainstream Organisations’, Human Resource Management Journal, 19(2): 159-175.
  • Kirton, G., A. M. Greene, D. Dean (2007) ‘British Diversity Professionals as Change Agents: radicals, tempered radicals or liberal reformers?’ International Journal of Human Resource Management, 18(11): 1979 – 1994.
  • Kirton, G. and Read, I. (2007) ‘Inequalities in Europe’s SMEs: the Challenges for a Trade Union Agenda’, Transfer, 13(1): 131-146.
  • Kirton, G. (2006) ‘Alternative or parallel careers for women: the case of trade union participation’, Work, Employment and Society, 20(1): 47-66.
  • Kirton, G. and A.M. Greene (2006) ‘The Discourse of Diversity in Unionised Contexts: Views from Trade Union Equality Officers’, Personnel Review, 35(4): 431-448
  • Kirton, G. (2005) ‘The influences on women joining and participating in trade unions’, Industrial Relations Journal, 36(5): 386-401.
  • Greene, A.M., G. Kirton and J. Wrench (2005) ‘Trade Union Perspectives on Diversity Management: A Comparison of the UK and Denmark’, European Journal of Industrial Relations, 11:2, 179-196.
  • Kirton, G. and G. Healy (2004) ‘Shaping Union and Gender Identities: a case study of women-only trade union courses’, British Journal of Industrial Relations, 42:2, 303-324
  • Greene, A.M and Kirton, G. (2003) ‘Possibilities for remote participation in trade unions: mobilising women activists’, Industrial Relations Journal, 34:4, 319-333
  • Greene, A.M and Kirton, G. (2002) ‘Advancing Gender Equality in UK Trade Unions: the Role of Women-only Trade Union Education’ Gender, Work and Organization, 9:1 39-59
  • Kirton, G. and A.M. Greene (2002) ‘The Dynamics of Positive Action in UK Trade Unions: the Case of Women and Black Members’ Industrial Relations Journal, 33:2, 157-172
  • Kirton, G. and A.M. Greene (2002) ‘New Directions in Managing Women’s Trade Union Careers: Online Learning’ Women in Management Review, 17:3/4, 171-179
  • Healy, G. and G. Kirton (2000) ‘Women, Power, and Trade Union Government’, British Journal of Industrial Relations, 38:3, 343-360
  • Kirton, G. (1999) ‘Sustaining and Developing Women’s Trade Union Activism - a Gendered Project’, Gender, Work & Organization, 6:4, 213-223
  • Kirton, G. and G. Healy (1999) ‘Transforming Union Women: the Role of Women Trade Union Officials in Union Renewal’ Industrial Relations Journal, 30:1, 31-45

Book chapters

  • Kirton, G (2019). ‘Diversity and inclusion in a changing world of work.’ In A. Wilkinson and M. Barry, A Research Agenda for the Future of Work, Edward Elgar
  • Guillaume, C. and G. Kirton(2018). ‘Femmes, restructurations et services publics dans les institutions pénitentiaires britanniques.’ In M. Maruani (ed.) Je travaille, donc je suis.Editions La Découverte, Paris
  • Kirton, G.and Greene, A.M. (2017) ‘Understanding diversity management in the UK.’ In K. Hansen and C. Seierstad (eds.) Corporate Social Responsibility and Diversity Management, Springer
  • Kirton, G. (2016) ‘Work-life balance: national regimes, organisational policies and individual choices.’ In A. Wilkinson (ed.) Contemporary Human Resource Management, Prentice Hall
  • Kirton, G.; G. Healy; S. Alvarez; M. Gatta; R. Lieberwitz and H. McKay (2012) ‘Developing and globalizing women’s union leadership via a cross-national exchange programme’ in S. Ledwith and L.L. Hansen (eds.) International perspectives on gender, identity and union leadership, London: Routledge.
  • Kirton, G. (2011) ‘Gender, equality, diversity and a new industrial relations paradigm?’ in Townsend, K. and A. Wilkinson (2011) (eds.) The Future of Employment Relations: New Paradigms, New Developments, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Greene, A. and Kirton, G.(2011). The value of investigating stakeholder involvement in diversity management.Diversity in the workplace: multi-disciplinary and international perspectives.Ed. Groschl, S. Farnham: Gower.
  • Kirton, G. (2010)‘Work-life-balance: attitudes and expectations of young black and minority ethnic graduates’, in Healy, G; G. Kirtonand M. Noon (2010) (eds.) Equality, Inequalities and Diversity, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Greene, A. M. and Kirton, G. (2009) ‘Trade union perspectives on diversity management’, Theory and Scholarship in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: a research companion, M. Ozbilgin (ed.), Edward Elgar
  • Kirton, G. (2008) ‘Managing multi-culturally in a diverse society’, Handbook of Macro Organizational Behaviour, S. Clegg and C. Cooper (eds.), Sage.
  • Kirton, G. (2007) ‘The longer-term influence of women-only trade union schools’,Learning with trade unions: a contemporary agenda in employment relations, S. Shelley (ed.), Ashgate.
  • Kirton, G. (2007) ‘Gendered Enterprise’, Encyclopedia of Sociology, G. Ritzer (ed.) Blackwell
  • Greene, A.M. and G. Kirton (2006) ‘Trade Unions and Diversity’, in A. Konrad, P. Prasad and Pringle, J. (Eds.) Handbook of Workplace Diversity, Sage.
  • Kirton, G. (2003) ‘Developing Strategic Approaches to Diversity Policy’ in ‘Individual Diversity and Psychology in Organizations’, 3-17, M. Davidson & S. Fielden (Eds.), John Wiley
  • Healy, G. and G. Kirton(2002) 'Professional and Highly Qualified Women in Two Contrasting Unions', in Gender, Diversity and Trade Unions: International Perspectives, 186-204, Colgan, F. & Ledwith, S. (eds.), London: Routledge
  • Kirton, G. (2002) ‘What is Diversity? Understanding the Issues’ in Managing Diversity in the Workplace, 1-23, IRS/Eclipse

Grants, Contracts and Awards:

  • British Academy: May 2020 – April 2022. Co-Investigator: ‘Returner Programmes: an innovative solution for accessing an untapped talent pool? Value of award c£10,000
  • British Academy: May 2018 – February 2020. Principal Investigator: ‘Employment relations and trade unions in the public sector in context of crisis: the cases of NHS midwifery and nursing.’ Value of award: c£9,000
  • British Academy: July 2015 –June 2016. Co-investigator – ‘Careers, strategies and practices of diversity consultants’. Value of award: c£6,000
  • Leverhulme Trust: International Fellowship, March –May 2013. Value of award: c£11,600. Fellowship located at School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University, New York.
  • Leverhulme Trust: Principal Investigator, October 2008 – September 2010. International Network: ‘Women and Trade Union Leadership in Comparative Context – the UK and USA’. Value of award: c£112,000.
  • Nuffield Foundation: Principal Investigator, June 2006-Feburary 2007: ‘Black and minority ethnic business graduates’ career plans and aspirations.’ Value of award: c£7,500.
  • Department of Constitutional Affairs: Co-Investigator, July-November 2005: ‘The utility of assessment centres in increasing diversity in the judiciary.’ Value of award: c£60,000.
  • European Social Fund: Co-Investigator (January 2004-December 2005): ‘Stakeholder approaches to diversity management’. Value of award: c£190,000.


Areas of Supervision Expertise:

Gill Kirton is interested in supervising PhDs in the following areas:

  • Gender, diversity and trade unions
  • Diversity management in organisations
  • Gender, careers and the workplace
  • Gender, work and careers in the public sector

Current Doctoral Students:

1st Supervisor

  • Omolola Olaleye, 'Apprenticeships: Breaking Down Barriers for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Youth?'
  • Deborah Osei, 'Gender, race, work-life balance and talent management in the UK Civil Service.'
  • Aparna Pasumarthy, 'Striving to thrive: An exploratory qualitative study of lived experiences, career trajectories, and adaptive strategies of Indian professional/managerial women.'
  • Edith Pick, 'Diversity discourse and politics of difference in the UK Jewish charity sector.'        

2nd Supervisor

PhD supervision completions:

(whilst at the School of Business and Management) 

  • Mark Bergfeld, 'Migrant worker organizing in the UK, USA and Germany.' Awarded 2019. 
  • Pedro Trespaderne,  'Race, migration and entrepreneurship in Spain.' Awarded 2018.
  • Clifford Lewis,  'Gender, race and leadership in South Africa.' Awarded 2016.
  • Emily Yarrow, 'Gender, Careers and the REF.' Awarded 2016.
  • Simon Roberts, 'Gay men, sexual orientation and the workplace.' Awarded 2014
  • Tessa Wright, 'Gender, sexual orientation and male dominated workplaces.' Awarded 2011. Now working as Professor of Emplyment Relations at the School of Business and Management Queen Mary University of London.
  • Cathrine Seierstad, 'Gender segregation and professional women in Norway.' Awarded 2011. 
  • Nicole Avdelidou-Fischer, 'Professional women’s networks in Germany and the UK.' Awarded 2010. 

Public Engagement


  • Associate Member of CIPD.
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