Dr Nikki Godden-Rasul

For this week’s speaker programme, we had Dr Nikki Godden-Rasul, a professor of Law at the University of Newcastle come in to talk to us about gender, sexuality and the ways in which they link to the law. She highlighted the difference between gender and sexuality, as well as explaining how certain terms for sexuality are blanket terms, as there is a whole spectrum on which a person can identify themselves as.

She also talked about the history of women and the law, from being a submissive gender to the dominant male in a patriarchal society, to a series of movements that restored some equality between women and men. She did demonstrate that equality has not yet been achieved with a gender pay gap and a fall in rape crimes being reported, despite the number of sexual assaults increasing over the years.

She stressed the importance of a fair and equal justice system that supports women, which is shown in the first female majority on the Supreme Court established this year. She then moved on to marriage and civil partnerships; highlighting the fight for equal rights for same-sex couples and the differences between a marriage and a civil partnership, showing the perspectives of those against same-sex marriage, as well as one heterosexual couple that campaigned for the right to a civil partnership.

She closed with a controversial question: how far can we go? Could we extend the right to marriage and the recognition of relationships between friends, or even family?  This was another fascinating talk in what has been a really interesting programme.

The King's Academy