Personal profile


Laura Mcleod

Laura is Senior Lecturer in International Politics at the University of Manchester. She works broadly in the areas of gender, feminism, security and peacebuilding in post-conflict contexts. Much of her focus has been on the United Nations Security Council's Women, Peace and Security agenda, activities around it and its implementation within the United Nations and former Yugoslavia, in particular Serbia, Kosovo and Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Laura's work has been published in International Studies Quarterly, Journal of International Relations and Development, Security Dialogue, Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, Peacebuilding and International Feminist Journal of Politics, among others. Her first book, Gender Politics and Security Discourse: Personal-political imaginations and feminism in 'post-conflict' Serbia was published by Routledge in 2016 (in Serbian, 2016, in paperback 2021). She co-edited a special issue of Peacebuilding, and a book on the theme of feminist interventions in critical peace and conflict studies.

Laura joined the Politics Department in January 2011. Between August 2012 and July 2014, she worked as a Research Associate on the ERC project Understanding Institutional Change. Before coming to Manchester, Laura completed her PhD thesis at the University of Sheffield. She is currently a member of the editorial board of the International Feminist Journal of Politics, and served as the journal's Conversations editor between 2014 and 2018.   


Research interests

Laura’s research interests include gender, feminism and security in post-conflict contexts, in particular ex-Yugoslavia. Much of her focus has been on the United Nations Security Council’s Women, peace and security (WPS) agenda and its implementation within the United Nations system and in post-conflict contexts.

Her current research examines how indicators matter in the implementation and achievement of feminist and gendered goals in international peacebuilding. With funding from the British Academy (2015-17), Laura has explored the United Nations’ women, peace and security indicators alongside other activities intended to quantitatively capture WPS concerns. This investigation highlights how knowledge about gender in peacebuilding is produced and accumulated, uncovering the effects of measurement for the achievement of institutional goals about a gender-just peace, and how these outcomes speak to feminist ambitions.

Laura is collaborating with Dr. Maria O’Reilly (Leeds Beckett University) to develop a feminist intervention and analysis of the concepts, methods and approaches used in the field of critical peacebuilding. From this project, a Special Issue of Peacebuilding ‘Critical Peace and Conflict Studies: Feminist Interventions’ was published in 2019, and an edited volume Feminist Interventions in Critical Peace and Conflict Studies in 2021. 

Previous research.

Laura has also carried out two other research projects. The first involved research on gender presence in peace and constitutional negotiations, specifically focussing on Bosnia-Herzegovina. This was part of the Understanding Institutional Change: A Gender Perspective project ( For this project, she explored quantitative data about women, gender and feminism in peace settlements and undertook a gendered analysis of the Bosnian peace process. Research findings have been published in International Studies Quarterly and Journal of International Relations and Development.    

The second research project explored gender security discourse in Serbia, highlighting how the specific configuration of gender security is reliant upon how the past, present and future of post-conflict is thought about. This project paid particular attention to understanding of how and why UN resolutions, in particular UNSCR 1325, are interpreted by activists working on post-conflict gender security initiatives. Laura's first book Gender Politics and Security Discourse, and articles in International Feminist Journal of Politics, Security Dialogue and Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding cover these themes.  

Supervision information

Bulbul Prakash - Navigating the intersections: The Impact of UNSCR 1325 on Feminist Peacebuilding in India's three Conflict Zones. 

Declan Penrose - The Space of Encounter Between Feminist Anti-Nuclear Activism and Academia.

Khin Khin Mra -  Gender in Myanmar’s stalled political transition (2011-2024).

Chantal Victoria Bright - Women, Water Security, and Peace in Liberia: An African Ecofeminist Perspective.

Qiaochu Zhang - Chinese engagement in norm(ative) contestation regarding the Protection of Civilians (POC), Responsibility to Protect (R2P), and liberal development assistance since the 2000s.

Sofia Doyle - Staff-Student Sexual Violence in the Academy: Everyday Insecurity, Everyday Resistance


Completed students

Marion Greziller - Doing Women, Peace and Security in EU civilian CSDP: a community of pratice in the making? (PhD awarded November 2022).

Jennifer Hobbs - Bodily fluids and International Politics: Violence, Resistance, and (in)security (PhD awarded September 2020)

Michanne Steenbergen - Empowerment, Marginalization, and Post-Conflict Security Practices: Female Ex-Combatants in Nepal and Liberia (PhD awarded January 2020).


I would welcome PhD applications related to my research interests.

Other teaching information

Laura's teaching interests cover several aspects of international relations, including International Relations Theory; Security Studies; War, Peace and Post-Conflict Studies, gender and feminism. Given her interest in knowledge production, she is interested in teaching research methods and methodology, as well as supporting the process of putting together a long project, such as a dissertation.

Typically Laura will convene the MA module Gender, War and Peace; a final year undergraduate course Knowledge Production in Peacebuilding: Practices and Processes; and a second year module,The Politics of (In)Security. She also contributes to the MA module The Graduate Seminar in International Relations.

Laura is on maternity leave during 2021-22 academic year. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Areas of expertise

  • JZ International relations
  • post-conflict reconstruction
  • peacebuilding
  • gender
  • Feminism
  • Former Yugoslavia
  • United Nations
  • Security

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Creative Manchester


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