Category / Women’s Academic Network

FHSS PhD student Orlanda Harvey in this month’s edition of HED Matters

PhD student Orlanda Harvey featured in this month’s edition of HED Matters as Early Career Researcher (ECR) with an article on ‘ECR Spotlight: From Social Work to Studying Steroids’ [1]HED Matters is an online magazine about the use of legal and illegal substances to enhance the human condition published biannually by the HED network. It brings together recent advances in drug research and experiences from both drug users and practitioners. This December 2019 issue focuses on sexual human enhancers.  Orlanda’s PhD research project addresses men’s experiences of recreational Anabolic Androgenic Steroid (AAS) use.

Earlier this year she also published a peer-reviewed paper form her research : “Support for people who use Anabolic Androgenic Steroids: A Systematic Scoping Review into what they want and what they access” in the Open Access journal BMC Public Health [2].  Since there is a paucity of research on support for people using Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS), this latter article synthesised the available evidence.  Orlanda’s  PhD I the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences is being supervised by Dr Margarete Parrish, Dr Steven Trenoweth and Prof Edwin van Teijlingen.

 

References:

  1. Harvey, O., (2019) ECR Spotlight: From Social Work to Studying Steroids, HED Matters 2(2):16-19.
  2. Harvey, O., Keen, S., Parrish, M., van Teijlingen, E. (2019) Support for people who use Anabolic Androgenic Steroids: A Systematic Literature Review into what they want and what they access. BMC Public Health 19: 1024      https://rdcu.be/bMFon

Women academics, social media and gender-based violence.

Dr Emma Kavanagh and Dr Lorraine Brown (FoM) have just published a paper entitled ‘Towards a research agenda for examining online gender-based violence against women academics’. Work on this topic was inspired by Emma’s research on the online violence experienced by female athletes and further influenced by work on sexual harassment by the Women’s Academic Network (WAN), which ran a symposium on the topic in June this year. The writing of the paper was supported through writing retreats organised by WAN. The focus of this paper builds upon the critical mass of research being conducted exploring inter-personal violence and gender-based violence in sporting spaces by members of the Department of Sport and Event Management, and the work of the Bournemouth University Gender Research Group.

There is an increasing call for academics to promote their research and enhance their impact through engaging in digital scholarship through social media platforms. While there are numerous benefits concerned with increasing the reach of academic work using virtual platforms, it has been widely noted that social media sites, such as Twitter, are spaces where hostility towards women and hate speech are increasingly normalised. In their paper, Emma and Lorraine provide a review of the current literature concerning violence toward women academics online and further provide suggestions for a research agenda which aims to understand the phenomena of gender-based violence more clearly and work toward safeguarding (female) academics engaging in digital scholarship. As they rightly state: “institutions such as universities that are increasingly placing pressure on women academics to engage in virtual platforms to disseminate their work have a responsibility in the prevention and protection of harm”.

Negative student bias towards women and BAME academics – WAN panel discussion

A few weeks ago an FHSS colleague in the Women’s Academic Network (WAN) raised the issue of how women and BAME academics are generally negatively evaluated by students compared to White male academics. Most reasonable people would normally regard it as self-evident that the traditional, almost monastic concept of a gendered and ethnic homogeneity of scholars is far from the realities of a diverse and international campus. Yet it would seem old tropes remain embedded in unconscious assumptions regarding what constitutes a conventional academic. A quick look at Google stock images demonstrates this. Typing in the terms ‘lecturer’ and particularly ‘professor’ (given the common US usage of the term for most academic ranks), will throw up multiple images – but these mostly depict the same old stereotype. Reinforced time and again, these false projections of an academic norm are internalised by students and, no doubt, the general public, as the ‘genuine article’ – meaning that others that do not fit this image will be felt to be of lesser quality, being less legitimised and generally therefore more suspect. It is easy to move from this position to judging the worth of their educational (and research) endeavours as being inherently inferior.

Although this is not breaking news in terms of relevant research literature, the impact of how students perceive diversity among academic staff has yet to be properly tackled in an academic socio-political context, where great efforts are maintained to keep student customers happy. At the same time few academics can be unaware of the huge significance invested by universities in student evaluations, where in respect of the UK there is increasing pressure exerted on programme leaders and departments to achieve high NSS scores. At BU this pressure now embraces the mid-semester MUSE surveys in a tighter grip. Consequently if any BU students are subject to acting on unconscious bias towards diverse academics then there are now greater opportunities provided for this to be expressed in a punitive fashion.

It was therefore not surprising that our colleague’s point engendered a lively email discussion in WAN; and additionally very welcome offers from members to help to take this issue forward. In order to capture the moment, given this discussion was taking place precisely during the MUSE season, a panel discussion was rapidly set up. Invitations to attend the panel discussion were duly sent out across WAN and to other relevant individuals across faculties, beyond WAN, with leading roles in teaching & learning, monitoring and evaluation, together with diversity and equality agendas, including the UCU.

WAN makes a point of providing a respectful, inclusive and candid space for women academics and PGRs to feel heard and supported. This open-to-all panel event was in keeping with that aim. To an attentive audience attendees offered some deeply concerning accounts of conspicuous xenophobia, racism and misogyny via student evaluation feedback or in everyday encounters. Some of these abusive interactions were described as completely devastating, particularly as they were often expressed with impunity, where staff complaints about student offensiveness were regularly trivialised or ignored. Academics who had experienced or heard of such episodes felt that they were far from adequately protected by existing university regulations; and that a much more robust institutional response of zero tolerance was required to tackle pejorative discrimination in the student body. It is clear that unchecked, unfair judgements of academics based largely on characteristics of gender and ethnicity (although this may not exclude other facets as well), alongside growing institutional scrutiny of staff evaluations, serves to create a highly toxic and risky environment adding greatly to academic precarity and stress.

In order to explore this matter in the greater depth that it deserves, WAN will be hosting another and bigger open-to-all event in the New Year with a view to developing greater traction to move this extremely important issue forward in a constructive way. WAN may have done some heavy lifting here (we are aware of much other good work at BU on diversity and difference), but nonetheless there is a great opportunity for the academic community at BU to come together to ensure that on this issue alone misogyny, racism and xenophobia remains firmly outside of our institution.

If you are not a member of WAN but would like a personal invitation to the next event on this topic please email me (Sara Ashencaen Crabtree) on scrabtree@bournemouth.ac.uk

Likewise if you are not yet a member of WAN but would like to become one please get in contact.

Professor Sara Ashencaen Crabtree

WAN convenor

 

 

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.