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Hannah Barnes “Time to Think: The Inside Story of the Collapse of the Tavistock’s Gender Service for Children”

By UCL Women's Liberation, on 28 April 2023

A reminder for our event on Thursday 25th May 2023, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM:

Hannah Barnes “Time to Think: The Inside Story of the Collapse of the Tavistock’s Gender Service for Children”

Hannah Barnes will introduce her highly acclaimed account of events at the Tavistock Gender Identity Development Service for children. A panel discussion will follow, including Dr David Bell and Dr Anna Hutchinson. The event will be followed by refreshments from 7.30pm and a chance to buy Hannah Barnes’ book.

“Time to Think” goes behind the headlines to reveal the truth about the NHS’s flagship gender service for children.

The Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS), based at the Tavistock and Portman Trust in North London, was set up initially to provide – for the most part – talking therapies to young people who were questioning their gender identity. But in the last decade GIDS has referred more than a thousand children, some as young as nine years old, for medication to block their puberty. In the same period, the number of young people seeking GIDS’s help exploded, increasing twenty-five-fold. The profile of the patients changed too: from largely pre-pubescent boys to mostly adolescent girls, who were often contending with other difficulties.

Why had the patients changed so dramatically? Were all these distressed young people best served by taking puberty blockers and then cross-sex hormones, which cause irreversible changes to the body? While some young people appeared to thrive after taking the blocker, many seemed to become worse. Was there enough clinical evidence to justify such profound medical interventions in the lives of young people who had so much else to contend with?

This urgent, scrupulous and dramatic book explains how, in the words of some former staff, GIDS has been the site of a serious medical scandal, in which ideological concerns took priority over clinical practice. Award-winning journalist Hannah Barnes has had unprecedented access to thousands of pages of documents, including internal emails and unpublished reports, and well over a hundred hours of personal testimony from GIDS clinicians, former service users and senior Tavistock figures. The result is a disturbing and gripping parable for our times.

This event provides an opportunity to hear from Hannah Barnes and Tavistock insiders and discuss the issues raised by “Time to Think”.


Hannah Barnes is Investigations Producer at Newsnight, the BBC’s flagship television news and current affairs programme. Prior to joining Newsnight in 2016, Hannah was a daily programme editor at Radio 4’s Today programme and a reporter and producer on a range of BBC radio programmes and documentaries. She began reporting on gender identity services for young people in 2019. Her book, “Time to Think: The Inside Story of the Collapse of the Tavistock’s Gender Service for Children”, was published by Swift Press in February 2023 and is a Sunday Times Bestseller.

Dr David Bell retired in 2021 from his post as Consultant Psychiatrist at the Tavistock. In his role as Staff Representative on the Council of Governors he raised serious concerns about the Gender Identity Service (GIDS). His report gained wide publicity and became part of the chain of events leading to the judicial review, the Cass report and finally the decision to close the service. He is also a leading psychiatric expert in asylum/human rights. He is a former President of the British Psychoanalytic Society.

Dr Anna Hutchinson is a clinical psychologist who has specialised in adolescent mental health and embodied distress over many years. She was a senior psychologist in the GIDS service between 2013 and 2017 and her concerns relating to the clinical practice she witnessed there formed a key part of the narrative in “Time to Think”.


UCL Institute of Education, WC1H 0AL

The event is open to all, but please register below as spaces are limited

Registration link

Education For Women’s Liberation: One Day Conference #Ed4WomensLib

By UCL Women's Liberation, on 20 December 2022

4th Feb 2023 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM at UCL’s Institute of Education



UCL Women’s Liberation SIG and WPUK are excited to announce a day of feminist thought and women’s activism. Building on the highly successful Women’s Liberation 2020 conference, this conference aims to bring together feminist activists, students, academics, writers, politicians and women’s organisations.

Education is key in the struggle for women’s liberation. The campaign for women’s suffrage in this country went hand in hand with campaigns for women’s access to educational opportunities. UCL was the first UK university to admit women on equal terms to men and has historically played an important role in this struggle. The struggle of women and girls to access education continues around the globe today.

Sisters, it is time to bring feminism back into the lecture theatres!

Focusing on education in feminism and women’s lives, the conference will address interconnected themes including: women’s voices in education; sexual harassment in schools and universities; the history of women’s access to education in local and global contexts; the ways in which women’s entrance into education and research has changed workplaces and academic disciplines; the impact of gendered stereotypes in educational spaces, and sex and relationship education in schools.

The conference programme will be structured around five panels with invited speakers from a range of academic disciplines, the focus will be on bringing academic research to bear on topical issues of policy and practice. Alongside the academic discussions, participants will have the opportunity to take part in workshops facilitated by experienced activists and organizers, focusing on developing skills and networking to organize for change in local and national contexts.


9am Doors open.

10-11am Opening plenary Joanna Cherry KC & Akua Reindorf, Introduced by UCL’s Brad Blitz.

11.30-1pm Panels (simultaneous)

Panel 1: Women’s voices in education

Attempts to narrow the scope of what can be said about sex and gender within higher education create unspeakable truths which have wide-ranging effects on research and teaching. This session asks, how are women reclaiming academic freedom and freedom of speech as liberatory values? What lessons can be learned from our successes and failures over the last few years? How can we build support, solidarity and momentum within and across our institutions? How can we influence policy?

Chair: Lesley Gourlay Professor of Education, UCL Institute of Education
Alice Sullivan Professor of Sociology and Head of Research, UCL Social Research Institute, Co-convenor, UCL Women’s Liberation SIG
Raquel Rosario Sanchez Dominican writer, campaigner and researcher
Judith Suissa Professor of Philosophy of Education, UCL Institute of Education, Co-convenor, UCL Women’s Liberation SIG
Jo Phoenix Professor of Criminology, University of Reading

Panel 2: Teaching about sex and gender in schools

The DfE guidance in 2021 achieved a long-held feminist goal of compulsory Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) inclusive of sexual orientation, as well as wider issues of intimate partner violence and coercive control. At the same time, there is a widespread programme of outreach into schools by proponents of ideas of innate gender identity and that sex is a spectrum, often taught under the wider remit of equalities or inclusion. What would a truly feminist RSE look like?

Chair: Michelle Shipworth Assoc Professor in Energy and Social Sciences, UCL Energy Institute
Michele Moore Professor of Inclusive Education, Northumbria University. Co-Edited the groundbreaking book Transgender Children and Young People, Born in Your Own Body
Tamasine Preece Secondary practitioner, health and well-being/PSHE researcher and consultant
Kiri Tunks Teacher, co-founder & Director, Woman’s Place UK. Winner of the Annie Higdon Award
Shereen Benjamin Lecturer in Primary Education, Edinburgh University

Panel 3: Schooling of girls’ minds and bodies

What do culture and society teach girls about their bodies and minds? Growing up a girl is to navigate a world of sex stereotypes, porn culture, sexual harassment, and intense focus on body image. Mental health problems and levels of self-harm are at unprecedented levels for young girls. What are girls’ experiences of their bodies and mental health? How can feminists respond across generations?

Chair: Gemma Moss Professor of Literacy, UCL Institute of Education, Director of the ESRC Education Research Programme
Victoria Smith Feminist writer and journalist. Author of Hags, published Spring 2023
Stella O’Malley Psychotherapist and best-selling author. Founder of Genspect
Dr Katie Alcock Senior Lecturer in Psychology at The University of Lancaster

Panel 4: The global history of women’s access to education

Access to education has historically gone hand in hand with increased political empowerment for women. This panel will address how this struggle has played out and continues to affect women around the globe.

Chair: Miriam David Professor Emerita, Sociology of Education, UCL Institute of Education
Maryam Namazie Iranian born women’s rights campaigner, writer & spokesperson of One Law for All, and Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
Jane Martin Professor of Social History of Education, University of Birmingham. Director, Domus Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Histories of Education and Childhood
Amy North Associate Professor, Centre for Education and International Development (CEID), UCL Institute of Education

Panel 5: Women, education, and work

Women’s entrance into the workplace and public life has had far-reaching impacts on professions, research agendas, and labour patterns. Changes to women’s work and life chances have led to changes in labour markets and family life. Panellists will address issues such as women’s struggle to access higher education and the professions; women’s financial independence; the need to accommodate mothers in the workplace; equality law, and women’s trade union organizing in the workplace.

Chair: Stephanie Bird Professor of German Studies, School of European Languages, Culture and Society, UCL
Ann Henderson Campaigner in the labour movement and former Rector of the University of Edinburgh. Served as Scottish Commissioner on the Women’s National Commission
Audrey Ludwig Discrimination law solicitor
Senia Paseta Professor of Modern History, University of Oxford

1-2.30pm Lunch: fresh sandwiches & wraps for every dietary requirement.

2.30pm Interactive workshops TBA

4pm Refreshments, tea, coffee and pastries.

4.30-5.30pm Closing plenary Kathleen StockHelen Joyce & Julie Bindel

5.30pm Cashless bar & networking opportunities

7pm until late Evening entertainment TBA

The Feminist Market Place A range of independent feminist stalls, book shops and campaigns.

Please follow this link to access the full programme.

This event is supported by FiLiA and Southall Black Sisters.

About UCL Women’s Liberation Special Interest Group (SIG)

This SIG was set up in 2019 to bring together staff from a range of disciplines whose research addresses pressing social and political issues concerning the status and meaning of women’s rights. Through our seminar series and events, we aim to generate public conversations and collaborations around issues of sex and gender inequalities.

About Woman’s Place UK (WPUK)

Winner of the Emma Humphreys Memorial Group Prize 2018.

WPUK is a grassroots feminist campaign, formed by a group of women in the labour and trade union movement to uphold women’s sex-based rights under the Equality Act 2010.

Woman’s Place UK has organised 31 public meetings, 11 webinars and a conference. These events have been hugely popular with over 15,000 tickets booked across the UK and globally.


We are committed to ensuring access for attendees with disabilities. The conference venue is accessible for those with mobility impairments. Please inform us in advance so that a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan can be completed if you would require assistance during an evacuation, and so that we can ensure sufficient spaces for those using wheelchairs. Please do contact us about your access needs and we will do everything we can to ensure that you can participate fully.

We are not offering a creche at this conference but please contact us if caring obligations would prevent you from attending so that we can provide support. Please email us at wpukevents@gmail.com

Where is the conference taking place?
Institute of Education UCL, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL. UCL is located 10 mins from Euston mainline Station and close to Warren Street, Euston Square and Russell Square tube stations.

Are there ID requirements?
ID is required for each person attending and must match the name on the ticket. If you are booking more than one ticket please ensure that each ticket is for a named individual.

Is there a minimum age?
There is no minimum age. Babes in arms are welcome. No unaccompanied under 16s.

Are there refreshments?
A vegetarian or vegan lunch is provided, tea & coffee throughout the day & a variety of pastries in the afternoon.

For the security of all attendees bags may be searched.

What’s the refund policy?
Tickets bought may be refunded up to seven days before the event. The organisers reserve the right to cancel and refund any tickets ordered.

When will the speakers be announced and do I need to book into panels and workshops in advance?
You will be asked to express a preference closer to the event in order to allocate the largest rooms to the most popular workshops. However, places cannot be reserved in advance. (NB if you have access needs we will endeavour to facilitate your preferred choice of session.)

How can I contact the organiser with any questions?
Please contact wpukevents@gmail.com

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UCL Women’s Liberation SIG – Spring Term 2020 meeting postponed

By UCL Women's Liberation, on 27 February 2020


In light of the rapidly changing situation in relation to Covid-19 the convenors of the SIG have decided to postpone the SIG meeting tomorrow.

Apologies for such short notice, but given the decision on Friday to end all face-to-face teaching at UCL, and the Director of IOE’s decision to cancel all public events we felt it was necessary.

We hope to see you when the event is rescheduled.

Holly Smith, Judith Suissa and Alice Sullivan Co-Convenors of UCL Women’s Liberation Special Interest Group


UCL Women’s Liberation Special Interest Group Spring Term Meeting

‘Let’s Talk about Brain Sex’

16 March 1-2pm Room 675, 20 Bedford Way, IOE

We welcome Sophie Scott, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience and Director of the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience who will lead the seminar for the Spring Term meeting of the Women’s Liberation Special Interest Group.

“In this talk I will outline some of the theories and studies behind the brain sex theory of differences between male and female brains. The aim is to critically evaluate what differences there are between male/female brains and behaviour, and what any of this might mean in terms of arguments about women’s liberation.”

Please join us for this seminar which is open all UCL staff and students who share a concern for Women’s Liberation, all welcome!

UCL Women’s Liberation 2020 on Woman’s Hour

By UCL Women's Liberation, on 12 February 2020

Woman’s Hour came to our conference on 1st February, celebrating 50 years of Women’s Liberation in the UK. You can listen to the interview (from 0.25) with Professor Sophie Scott (UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience) and Helen Joyce (UCL Alumna and Finance Editor at the Economist), discussing why the conference was important.


Women’s Liberation 2020 Conference #WomensLib2020

By UCL Women's Liberation, on 10 January 2020

UCL Women’s Liberation is organising a large one-day conference in February 2020, bringing together academics, policymakers, practitioners, journalists and activists for a day of feminist plenaries, panel discussions and practical campaigning workshops. We are delighted to be working with our third sector partners WPUK, Southall Black Sisters, FiLiA, The National Assembly of Women and the Centre for Women’s Justice.

2020 marks the 50 year anniversary of the first UK Women’s Liberation conference in the UK. We anticipate a national moment of reflection and evaluation of progress in the women’s movement. UCL was the first university in the UK to admit women on an equal basis to men, UCL is a fitting venue for this landmark event.

The conference will address themes of: the economic status of women, ending violence, harassment and abuse of women and girls, improved access to healthcare, education and training, justice for women in the legal system, representation and participation in democracy, culture, sports and all areas of public life.

Keynote speakers include Joanna Cherry QC MP, Pragna Patel, Joan McAlpine MSP, Julie Bindel and Maya Forstater. In addition to hearing leading feminist writers, researchers and activists, there will be a practical focus on empowerment of participants to return to their communities, workplaces and families with campaigning skills.

The Conference will take place on Saturday 1st February at University College London, Institute of Education 10.00-17.00.

Please purchase tickets via Eventbrite https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/womens-liberation-2020-tickets-86046570609.

There are a limited number of tickets reserved for UCL staff at the regular rate. In ‘Select promo code’ box enter ‘UCLWLSIG’ and click Apply. The message ‘New Tickets unlocked below’ will appear and the option to purchase at the Standard ticket price of £25. You will also need to provide a UCL staff email address in Eventbrite.