research student

Ruby Brooks

Postgraduate Research Student

Ruby wearing a grey beret smiling.


Education, Childhood and SEND


College of Arts, Humanities and Education


Institute of Education



I am a final year PhD student in the Institute of Education. My research project is a qualitative study of the perceptions of gender in the early years workforce using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Through my experiences in practice as an early years practitioner, one significant theme emerged among colleagues and parents – the pre-conceived assumption that a female should be the natural caregiver of a child in early childhood. My research will explore the impact of this assumption on practitioners themselves; how the patriarchy reproduces this norm by perpetuating misogyny and marginalisation; and how this notion affects women’s oppression and the consequent movements towards liberation.

I have seven years of experience as a practitioner in early childhood before I transitioned into research and teaching roles in higher education. I currently teach across Education and Early Childhood courses specialising in gender, social inequality, and outdoor education.

Thesis title 

Gendered Childcare: The Societal Devaluation of Femininity and the Early Years Workforce.