Category / Women’s Academic Network

Gamechangers with a heart: Women Entrepreneurs in India

Dr Mili Shrivastava based on her research in Women Entrepreneurs in UK and India published an article on Indian women Entrepreneurs in The Conversation. The article outlined how women entrepreneurs are creating businesses based on environmental problems while creating opportunities for sections of society.

The article has reached far and wide across continents and was widely shared on social media.

World Economic forum reprinted the article.

The article can be found here:https://theconversation.com/how-women-entrepreneurs-are-changing-indian-society-122352

 

Powerless Responsibility: A feminist study exploring women’s experiences of caring for their late preterm babies

A new publication by Dr. Luisa Cescutti-Butler (FHSS) and her co-authors (Professor A Hemingway & Dr. J. Hewitt-Taylor) which explores women’s experiences of caring for a late preterm baby using feminism as a research methodology has just been published in the Australian Women and Birth Journal (October 2019). Her research found that women who become mothers’ of late preterm babies have a complex journey. It begins with separation, with babies being cared for in unfamiliar and highly technical environments where the perceived experts are healthcare professionals. Women’s needs are side-lined, and they are required to care for their babies within parameters determined by others. Institutional and professional barriers to mothering/caring are numerous. For example: some of the women who were separated from their babies immediately after birth had difficulties conceiving themselves as mothers, and others faced restrictions when trying to access their babies. Women described care that was centred on their babies. They were allowed and expected to care for their babies, but only with ‘powerless responsibility’. Many women appeared to be excluded from decisions and were not always provided with full information about their babies. The research concludes by recommending that women whose babies are born late preterm would benefit from greater consideration in relation to their needs, rather than the focus being almost exclusively on their babies.

Luisa is Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH) and Lead for Examination of the Newborn in the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences. If you would like any further information please email Luisa on lcbutler@bournemouth.ac.uk

References: 

Cescutti-Butler, L.D. Hewitt-Taylor, J. and Hemingway, A., 2019. Powerless responsibility: A feminist study of women’s experiences of caring for their late preterm babies. Women and Birth, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wombi.2019.08.006

Cescutti-Butler, L.D., Hemingway, A., and Hewitt-Taylor, J., 2018. “His tummy’s only tiny” – Scientific feeding advice versus women’s knowledge. Women’s experiences of feeding their late preterm babies. Midwifery, DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.midw.2018.11.001

WAN seminar: Working Women and Flexible Working

Dr Zoe Young is one of those rare creatures: an academic organisational sociologist and practising consultant to industry for the development of gender-equitable policies around the issue of flexible working. She has recently published an important research monograph, based on her PhD, exploring the experiences of flexible working among working mothers. In WAN we were very pleased that Dr Young accepted our invitation to share her interesting findings to an engaged, mixed audience of academics and professional services, with a lively discussion ensuing.

Flexible working is often mooted as the panacea for gender-based inequities in the workplace in terms of stalling and interrupted career progression and gender pay gaps. Moreover, this is primarily a gendered issue as flexible working is most likely to be requested by women, and this for the equally gendered reason that it is mostly women who are expected to adapt their working lives to the demands of childcare.

The conventional argument for flexible working (which is different from part-time working) is that this will help women to balance family and work time better and in consequence will overcome gendered career inequities. But does it?

Dr Young’s research suggests otherwise, pointing out that there are multiple variations of flexible working that could potentially be offered to employees from a currently very limited menu. Not only is the menu unimaginative and meanly populated, but while women have a legal right to request flexible work, companies are under no legal obligation to comply. Her research illustrates the unnecessary stressors and casualties caused to women workers by organisations unwilling to adapt to employees’ changing circumstances – and how flexible working, as it is currently practiced, far from being a solution, may add to the issues that disadvantage women in the workplace.

At BU the benefits of promoting flexible working is being seriously explored by the Equal Pay Review Committee and by Athena SWAN committees. It is recognised that all posts ideally should be flexible working ones and that male colleagues should also be encouraged to consider new working modes in order to spread the potential benefits. However, as Dr Young’s research suggests, a very important outcome of ensuring greater gender representation for flexible working, is that it would also serve to minimise the currently feminised disadvantages associated with that elusive pursuit of a better work-life balance.

Prestigious Visiting Professorship at Oxford

Congratulation to BU’s Prof. Tiantian Zhang who has been awarded at Visiting Professorship at the University of Oxford.  Her research area is cryopreservation of biological materials for medical applications.  Tiantian is now affiliated with the Oxford Suzhou Centre for Advanced Research, which is the University of Oxford’s first overseas centre for advanced physical and engineering science research.

Well done!

Prof Edwin van Teijlingen

Conference on Women Entrepreneurs and Innovators: Contemporary insights from Research and Practice

On 18th July, the conference titled “Women Entrepreneurs and Innovators- Contemporary Insights from Research and Practice” was held at the Talbot Campus. The conference brought together academics, entrepreneurs, professionals, and students to discuss cutting edge insights from theory and practice of women entrepreneurship.

The day started with Dr Mili Shrivastava, organiser of the conference, highlighting the importance of women entrepreneurship and introducing the speakers.  The first speaker was Professor Claire Leitch from Lancaster University. Prof Leitch is the editor of International Small Business Journal, a leading entrepreneurship field Journal. She presented her work on women entrepreneurship as a gendered niche and its implications for regional development policy. Following this stimulating talk emphasizing the role of geography for women entrepreneurship, Professor Helen Lawton Smith from University of London, discussed academic women entrepreneurs and research commercialisation by them at UK Universities. The third speaker was Erin Thomas Wang, founder of Makingmumpreneurs. com. She shared unique perspectives from her start- up journey.

In the afternoon session, Professor Lynn Martin, an academic entrepreneur from Angela Ruskin University, discussed her perspectives on women entrepreneurship from both research and practice. Following her talk, Dr Mili Shrivastava presented contemporary insights from her project with Gabriel Glixelli on women entrepreneurs in High technology industries. Finally, Ms Sarah Veakins, Marketing advisor of Outset, a government organisation advocating women enterprise talked about her experiences in supporting women entrepreneurs in the region and her perspectives on starting-up.

The Conference organically developed into a forum for compelling discussion on various aspects of women innovation and entrepreneurship such as gender, society, regional context and role of education that emerged throughout the day.  It became an innovative setting for stimulating discussion on cutting-edge research and practice of women entrepreneurship and innovation with entrepreneurs and academics coming together for an insightful and enriching day.

 

New edited book by BU academics

As a discipline and a profession, social work builds on a wide variety of methods and techniques for its practice. The broader frameworks of social work methodology guide social workers through the process of developing and creating interventions with different service users, carers and other professionals.

This book aims to provide an overview of current debates concerning social work methods and methodologies from an international perspective. It provides and enables exchanges about the variety of approaches and reflects the knowledge base for bringing social work theory into practice in different European settings and welfare contexts. It is a timely and welcome addition to the literature at a  time when European cooperation and solidarity is much needed.

Edited by Professor Spatscheck from Germany, and Professors Ashencaen Crabtree and Parker from the UK, this book comprises chapters selected from presentations held at the 17th SocNet98 International University Week at Hochschule Bremen and includes further contributions from throughout the SocNet98 network. The work includes a chapter by the editors co-authored with past BU Sociology & Social Policy students Emilie Reeks,  Dan Marsh and Ceyda Vasif.

“SocNet98 – European Network of Universities/Schools of Social Work” provides highly successful International University Weeks for social work students and academics from across Europe to learn from and share with one another. These study weeks have enriched social work education for 20 years and continue to do so.

New BU publication: Wisdom & skills in social work education

Congratulations to professors Parker and Ashencaen Crabtree in the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences on the publication of their latest paper ‘Wisdom and skills in social work education. Promoting critical relational social work through ethnographic practice.’

 

Reference:

  1. Parker, J.& Ashencaen Crabtree, S. (2018). Wisdom and skills in social work education. Promoting critical relational social work through ethnographic practice,
     

Second WAN international seminar ‘Reclaiming the academy: Scholarship, gender and consumerism’

On the 23rd of May the Women’s Academic Network held their second international seminar ‘Reclaiming the academy: Scholarship, gender and consumerism’. Our international keynote speakers were Professor Maggie Berg from Queen’s University, Canada, and Professor Barbara Seeber from Brock University, also in Canada. Notably, Maggie and Barbara are the acclaimed authors of the extraordinary book The Slow Professor: Challenging the culture of speed in the academy. The audience was deeply absorbed by both their keynote speech and workshop, which outlined why ‘slowness’ in academia is vital to university life. We were dismayed to hear of the bizarre attacks made upon their work, in which sexism and gender oppression were clearly implicated, echoing one of the presentations on the silencing of women’s voices by our old colleague, Professor Heather Savigny of De Montford University. Yet Maggie and Barbara’s work speaks with the authority of deep scholarship and conviction and, as such, is generating great support globally. In this seaside corner of the world it has inspired research at BU among WAN members, along with international conference presentations and a forthcoming keynote speech for a DAKAM women’s studies conference in Turkey in December 2018 by Professor Sara Ashencaen Crabtree; and finally, a planned ESRC research bid.

The seminar was well attended by a mixed audience of internal and external academics and PGR, where we, WAN co-convenors, warmly welcomed the support of our good male colleagues in the capacity of presenters and participants. We heard some excellent presentations, culminating in an evocative social dreaming session by Anne-Marie Cummins and Dr Lita Crociani-Windland of the University of West of England. Thanks to our friend, Dr Ian Davies, colleagues and students from BU Music provided a superb finish to the day with beautiful singing and musical accompaniment and the whole event supported by the invaluable help of Sarah Cronin in OD.

The evaluations by participants were (gratifyingly) completely outstanding, encompassing without exception the two highest points of appreciation. Comments related to the excellence of the programme, the relevance of the topic to the audience and the warm collegiality experienced throughout the day. The only criticisms received was that maybe next time a 2-day event rather than 1 (noted, thanks) and that the rather ferocious air-conditioning needed taming (agreed).

Upon reflection the topic of the seminar appeared to hit a strongly vibrating chord in individual participants resonating with growing concern permeating the sector about the morphing and future of academia. For instance, it is disquieting to note from the research literature that the UK appears to be in the vanguard of adopting corporate values, systems and processes that have been critiqued in the literature as damaging to the ethos, the practices and environment of academia – not only harmful to academics in all ways but also to students in terms of their motivations towards and engagement with their studies, owing to the policy vectors influencing a flawed understanding of the purpose of academia, if viewed as purely instrumental. Yet we note that the HEI trends towards quasi-business models lags behind the realisation of actual business and entrepreneurial industries that the target-driven corporate model in fact damages innovation, commitment, creativity – and ultimately the health of employees. The gulf between privatised business models and academia are great and need to be recognised as such, as celebrated academics such as Stefan Collini and Frank Furedi make very clear. Writing in the Times Higher Education, the brilliant sociologist, Laurie Taylor (the caustic creator of the satirical ‘University of Poppleton’) sought to remind us a few years ago that just as good actors hold their allegiance to the concept of the ‘stage’, so too do academics owe theirs to that of ‘academia’ – not to any particular establishment.

This seminar was thus both timely and significant in allowing the topic to develop through inter-related themes and enabling us to recognised shared concerns and identify a corpus of collegial interest that bodes well for future research collaboration focusing on the threats towards, the defence of and the recreation of what academics really value together with the role of what flourishing university cultures contribute to society.

Sara Ashencaen Crabtree, Lorraine Brown, Frances Hawkhead & Jayne Caudwell

WAN Co-convenors

 

Athena SWAN focus groups

We will be submitting an application to be re-accredited with the bronze Athena SWAN award in Winter 2018. The bronze institution award requires universities to undertake an assessment of gender equality in the institution, including quantitative (staff data) and qualitative (policies, practices, systems and arrangements) evidence and identifying both challenges and opportunities. We are holding a series of focus groups at different levels during Spring/Summer 2018 and all BU staff are invited to attend. These will provide rich qualitative data about staff experiences and perceptions, as well as suggestions for improvements, around key areas assessed via the SWAN process. The focus groups also show BU’s continuing commitment to gender equality and desire to engage with staff. The data will be reviewed by the SWAN Self-Assessment Team and Steering Group and will inform the award submission and action plan.

Details of the focus groups can be found here.  The five groups are as follows:

Title Date Time Location
Focus Group 2: Maternity, paternity, shared parental, adoption and parental leave Thursday 10th May 2018 10.00 – 12.00 Lansdowne Campus
Focus Group 3: Flexible working and managing career breaks Tuesday 15th May 2018 11.00 – 13.00 Talbot Campus
Focus Group 4: Childcare Thursday 7th June 2018 10.00 – 12.00 Lansdowne Campus
Focus Group 1: Promotion (rescheduled from April) Monday 18th June 2018 11.00 – 13.00 Talbot Campus
Focus Group 5: Workload model Tuesday 3rd July 11.00 – 13.00 Talbot Campus

If you are unable to attend any of these focus groups, but still want to share your views please email diversity@bournemouth.ac.uk

To book a place on these sessions, please email Organisational Development.

CMMPH lecturer Daisy Wiggins’ paper published

Congratulations to Daisy Wiggins in the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH) on the publication of her paper ‘The effect of a birthplace decision support tool on women’s decision-making and information gathering behaviours during pregnancy: mybirthplace study protocol’.  The paper is published in the Open Access journal Journal of Innovation in Health Informatics and can be accessed by clicking here!  The paper is co-authored by CMMPH’s Prof. Vanora Hundley, Dr. Carol Wilkins, as well asProf. Carol Bond (University of Wolverhampton) and the Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Gill Walton.

 

Congratulations to all!

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen

CMMPH

 

Reference:

Wiggins D, Hundley VA, Wilkins C, Bond C, Walton G. The effect of a birthplace decision support tool on women’s decision-making and information gathering behaviours during pregnancy: mybirthplace study protocol. J Innov Health Inform.2018;25(1):001–006.

 

Challenging Disadvantage and Marginalisation

Our latest book Social Work with Disadvantaged and Marginalised People (Prof Jonathan Parker & Prof Sara Ashencaen Crabtree) is published by Sage. The work offers theoretical and practice based perspectives and insights into the complexities and importance of working with people at the margins of societies. Everyone who works with people and especially social and community workers need to understand the powers and processes that lead to disadvantage and marginalisation and to develop the knowledge, skills and values necessary to bringing about positive change and upholding social justice and human rights.

This need is reinforced in our present uncertain and insecure times. When the idea of writing this book was first mooted by our publishers we wondered what new approach could be brought to an area that seemed well trodden already in social work. What we found during the process of writing, however, was that there was a great deal to say on this hugely, perhaps fundamentally, important topic, in relation to the transition of social work as a profession operating in a society riven with inequities and divisions.

All times are ‘interesting’ for someone somewhere, but it seems a truism that we are currently living through a time of monumental and deeply uncertain transitions in the UK that will have a decisive bearing on lives and futures. Within the country we see that public services are stretched to crisis point and that public service pay caps are plunging public sector workers and many other working people into penury. We see that poverty is increasing, incomes are falling compared to rising household costs, and social welfare nets offer considerably less security than formerly.

Where then does this leave today’s social work graduates for whom amongst others, we have written this text? They are entering a beleaguered, under-funded profession and it could be said that social work is living through the ‘worst of times’, but, maybe also one of the best, to paraphrase Dickens’ novel A Tale of Two Cities. The knowledge base of social work often constructs the concept of crisis as creating the tipping point to necessary change. We would suggest that this maybe where we currently are in England, we certainly hope so. For while the slow and unedifying helter-skelter journey downwards has taken time, as will the spiralling journey upwards, this can occur and maybe must occur, for the profession to survive. If change does happen and the profession eases itself up to a standing position, bedraggled and in tatters maybe, it should also take matters into its own hands and refuse to serve as political ‘whipping boy’ any longer, in the interests of marginalised and disadvantaged individuals and families everywhere in the England and the UK as a whole. If it fails to do this then it could be that social work in England, at least, will not survive into the future as a recognisable profession that adheres to international standards and values. If such were the case, then that indeed would be counted among the greatest national tragedies of our time.