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Mariel Barnes

Graduate Student

Mariel Barnes

Educational Background

PhD in Government, Cornell University (expected May 2021)

MA in Government, Cornell University

MA (Hons) in International Relations, University of Chicago

BA (Hons) in Politics and International Relations, and History, University of New South Wales



Mariel Barnes is a PhD Candidate in the Government Department at Cornell University. Starting in August 2021, she will be an Assistant Professor at the La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her book project examines how the social welfare state, and in particular social policy, contribute to and exacerbate everyday violence against women.


Gender and Politics, Violence Against Women, Social Welfare State, Social Policy, Institutions, European Politics, Comparative Politics


  • Government


My main research agenda examines the impact of the welfare state on everyday violence against women in Europe. Contrary to popular beliefs about gender equality, European women experience extremely high rates of physical and sexual abuse. My book project provides a novel account of this disturbing fact. I argue that everyday violence against women is an unintended consequence of the welfare state’s implementation and promotion of the “universal breadwinning model” – a set of family policies that are designed to alleviate the burdens of familyhood on women. In support of this theoretical argument, I employ a multi-method empirical strategy which includes cross-national and subnational quantitative analysis, interviews and ethnographic observation. This research has been funded by the NSF, the DAAD and the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies.

In addition to my research on violence, I have two other research agendas within the broader field of gender and politics. The first focuses on the relationship between gender and institutions, particularly the representation and incorporation of women and some of this research has been published in Comparative Politics. My second on-going area of research is on men’s rights activists and the “manosphere”, and its role as a backlash to gender equality.