This week the Journal of Asian Midwives published our short article ‘Out-of-hospital births: A small but growing phenomenon in high income countries: A viewpoint‘ . OOHBs (out-of-hospital births), is also referred to as freebirth (or freebirthing), unassisted childbirth and/or unassisted pregnancy . OOHB does not refer to giving birth at home before the midwife arrives at a home birth or the birth taking place in an ambulance or along the side of the road on the way to a maternity unit, this is called ‘born before arrival’. OOHB suggests an element of planning of planning a birth without a midwife (or other maternity-care professional).
The paper in the Journal of Asian Midwives highlights that during the COVID-19 pandemic, OOHBs were a way to avoid Public Health regulations and lock-down constraints, and to guarantee the presence of a partner at the birth. The authors argue, however, that the pandemic is not at the origin of the trend, but more of a catalyst. Advocacy groups, maternity-service users’ groups, the media, and midwifery organisations in several high-income countries have in recent years underlined the growing criticism of existing maternity care and midwifery services and a long-term shortage of midwives. This is in addition to a longstanding trend in the United Kingdom of closing community-based hospitals, including small, free-standing midwife-led units.
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
Centre for Midwifery & Women’s Health
Miani, C, Batram-Zantvoort, S, Pitchforth, E, Treadgold, B, Johnston, K, Rozée, V, MacDougall, C, Schantz, C, van Teijlingen, E. (2023) Out-of-hospital births: A small but growing phenomenon in high income countries: A viewpoint. Journal of Asian Midwives 10(2):77–78.
Congratulations to Dr. Hyun-Joo Lim on the publication of her latest book North Korean Women and Defection: Human Rights Violations and Activism which was published last week by Bristol University Press. The book covers the recent North Korean diaspora which has created female refugee groups fighting for the protection of women’s rights. Presenting in-depth accounts of North Korean women defectors living in the UK, this book examines how their harrowing experiences have become an impetus for their activism. Dr Hyun-Joo Lim, who is Principal Academic in Sociology in the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, reveals how North Korean women defectors’ have an Utopian dream of a better future for fellow North Korean women. This dream is vital in their activism. Unique in its focus on the intersections between gender, politics, activism and mobility, the book will inform debates on activism and human rights internationally.
For many women, adult diagnoses of autism are “a light in the darkness”, an epiphany of self-understanding. My “lightbulb moment” came in my late 20s. “They thought you were autistic,” my mum mused when I told her I was embarking on an academic career in autism research.
As a child, I was painfully aware of being different. The adults and the children around me had noticed my strangeness, my inability to fit in. It turned out that autism had been suggested to my mother – but then dismissed by a child psychiatrist. I didn’t fit what was known about autism. Although socially gauche, I’d mastered eye contact and was fairly eloquent.
A few years after my mum had made that off-the-cuff comment, I was re-evaluating my life in the context of a shiny new diagnosis.
Researchers are learning more and more about the way autism differs in people of different sexes and genders. As they do so, the lights are coming on for more of us who’ve felt lost in the world.
The female face of autism
There is no one type of autistic person. The key features of autism – differences in the way we think, communicate and interact with others – show up in more diverse and subtle ways than the limited examples suggested by the diagnostic criteria. This is often true in autistic girls.
This article is part of Women’s Health Matters, a series about the health and wellbeing of women and girls around the world. From menopause to miscarriage, pleasure to pain the articles in this series will delve into the full spectrum of women’s health issues to provide valuable information, insights and resources for women of all ages.
While they struggle with social understanding, many autistic girls are adept mimics of the social behaviour of other people. In the way they speak and the things they talk about, they are more similar to neurotypical children than autistic boys are. This may explain why, on first impression, people tend to underestimate autistic girls’ difficulties.
In comparison to autistic boys, the conversation of autistic girls tends to be more social in nature, focusing more on the people and friendship groups around them. Their interests tend to be more social, involving fictional characters, animals or celebrities rather than non-living objects. Tellingly, they express greater longing for the friendships and relationships which often elude them.
As they grow, some girls learn scripts to use in social situations, and develop a passive way of behaving with others that focuses on making the other person feel comfortable. Many autistic girls and women engage in this kind of “social camouflaging” constantly in order to seem acceptable to others.
Undiagnosed autistic people are often painfully aware of their inability to fit in and to do the things that others do easily. If no one gives you an explanation, you’re left to find one yourself.
I knew as a teenager that I must be fundamentally bad, since I was bullied and had no friends at school. Autistic people I’ve worked with in my research have similarly blamed themselves for a lifetime of struggling and being abused, pinning these things on personal failings.
Across research studies, we late-diagnosed autistics are that societal subgroup with a history of academic struggles, employment problems, mental illness and relationship breakdowns. Our self-narratives are ones of inadequacy and failure.
Research has found that autistic girls and women have poorer mental health than autistic men. So are people who are diagnosed later in life compared to those diagnosed when young. These two facts are almost certainly interrelated. Autistic children who grow up without a diagnosis are unlikely to receive appropriate support. What’s more, they’re less likely to be viewed with compassion when they struggle.
Recognition of autism in girls and women may come at a crisis point. For some, this occurs in the pubertal chaos and complex social world of adolescence, where rates of anxiety and depression climb steeply in autistic girls. For some, it happens in the world-rocking turmoil of menopause, which appears to derail the coping skills and social camouflage that undiagnosed people rely on.
Beyond diagnosis, there are other ways that autistic girls and women face greater challenges than boys and men. While women generally suffer higher rates of sexual abuse, this risk is even higher for autistic women.
Autistic women often find their difficulties are poorly understood by employers, and must also contend with gendered pressures to perform emotional labour at work – taking on the unpaid and implicit responsibility to look after the emotions of others – or face damage to their reputation.
For we lucky women who got there in the end, a discovered autistic identity can be a life-changing gift. Finding ourselves means finding each other, release from self-blame and a new sense of belonging.
This is Abier’s PhD research is supervised by Dr. Pramod Regmi, Senior Lecturer in International Health and the Global Engagement Lead in the Department of Nursing Sciences, and Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen in the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH).
Congratulations to Abier Hamidi on the acceptance of her Ph.D. paper ‘Facilitators and barriers to condom use in Middle East and North Africa: a systematic review’.  This review has been registered on PROSPERO.  The Journal of Public Health is part of BU’s publishing deal with Springer, hence it will free open access when published.
Abier is supervised by Dr. Pramod Regmi, Senior Lecturer in International Health and the Global Engagement Lead in the Department of Nursing Sciences, and Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen in the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH). Earlier Abier published ‘HIV epidemic in Libya: Identifying gaps’ in 2021. 
Hamidi, A., Regmi, P., van Teijlingen, E. (2023) Facilitators and barriers to condom use in Middle East and North Africa: a systematic review, Journal of Public Health, (accepted)
Hamidi, A., Regmi, P., van Teijlingen, E. (2021) HIV epidemic in Libya: Identifying gaps, Journal of the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care, 20 :1-5 https://doi.org/10.1177/23259582211053964.
Congratulations to PhD student Abier Hamidi on winning two scholarships within weeks. Earlier this month Abier was awarded a scholarship from the BHIVA (British HIV Association) to pay the registration fee for BHIVA Autumn Conference. This week she was also successful in getting a scholarship covering registration for the ‘Arab Health Summit: Advancing Health Equity for Women’ to be held on October 19-21. The Arab Health Summit serves as a platform for researchers in the USA to connect with their global counterparts, including in the MENA (Middle Eastern and North African) region. This summit offers a unique opportunity for Abier to exchange ideas and develop research relationships that may support her PhD study.
Abier is conducting a PhD on: ‘Perceptions of the Effectiveness of Health Education Strategies in Reducing Harm from HIV in Libyan Married Women’. Recently, she had her first PhD paper “HIV epidemic in Libya: Identifying gaps” accepted for publication by the Journal of the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (JIAPAC) published by SAGE . Abier’s PhD project is supervised by Dr. Pramod Regmi (Senior Lecturer in International Health) and Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen in the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH).
Hamidi, A., Regmi, P., van Teijlingen, E. HIV epidemic in Libya: Identifying gaps, Journal of the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (JIAPAC) (forthcoming)
Dr Melanie Stockton-Brown and Amy Tatum, Doctoral Researcher, in the FMC have created a short-film and zine to share their research on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, copyright, voice, and attribution for women authors. As Mary Shelley is buried in Bournemouth and the Shelley family lived here and have many links to the area, it is wonderful to be able to celebrate the extensive feminist, copyright, and cultural legacy of such an influential author and person.
Melanie and Amy with the leading ladies.
Beloved is a short-film retelling Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and celebrating her feminist, literary and copyright legacy. This is a queer feminist retelling using puppets, and emphasises how important it is to be acknowledged as the creator and copyright owner of your creative works. Look out for the beautiful seaside shots of Bournemouth beach and cliffs!
FrankenZine: Voice, Copyright, and Women Authors is a zine is about women authors, and the importance of the proper legal and cultural recognition of their voices, and their right to be acknowledged as the author of their creative works. These are four women authors who have fought to keep their copyright, to be attributed as the author, and who have experienced gender and racial discrimination in having their voices heard equally. Our voices and stories are very important, and so is having our name spoken and remembered with those stories.
The short-film and zine were kindly funded by CIPPM, and the Department of Humanities and Law QR funding.
Today our chapter: Birth Systems across the World: Variations in maternity policy and services across countrieswas published in the renowned series of books: FIGO Continuous Textbook of Women’s Medicine . This chapter was co-authored by Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen in the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH) with Prof. Sirpa Wrede and Doctoral Researcher Johanna Sarlio-Nieminen both from the University of Helsinki (Finland) and Dr. Anastasia Novkunskaya from the European University at St. Petersburg (Russia). The chapter includes a set of recommendations for future practice.
Volume 1 is edited by Prof. Jane Sandall from King’s College London. Earlier this year Prof. Sandall was appointed as the first-ever head of midwifery research for England and one of her key focuses will be around ending racial health inequalities in maternity care.
Everything published on The Global Library of Women’s Medicine is available to everyone everywhere for free and there is no requirement to register in order to view it.
Wrede S, Novkunskaya A, Sarlio-Nieminen, J, van Teijlingen, E. (2021) Birth Systems across the World: Variations in maternity policy and services across countries, Glob. Libr. Women’s Med., ISSN: 1756-2228; DOI 10.3843/GLOWM.415183
Congratulations to FHSS authors on the publication of their paper “A Priori and a Posteriori Dietary Patterns in Women of Childbearing Age in the UK” which has been published in the scientific journal Nutrients. The authors highlight that a poor diet quality is a major cause of maternal obesity. They investigated investigate a priori and a-posteriori derived dietary patterns in childbearing-aged women in the United Kingdom. An online survey assessed food intake, physical activity (PA), anthropometry and socio-demographics. A poor diet quality was found among childbearing-aged women; notably in the younger age category, those of white ethnicity, that were more physically inactive and with a lower socioeconomic background.
The article is Open Access and freely available (click here!).
Khaled, K.; Hundley, V.; Almilaji, O.; Koeppen, M.; Tsofliou, F. (2020) A Priori and a Posteriori Dietary Patterns in Women of Childbearing Age in the UK. Nutrients2020, 12, 2921.
Congratulations to Dr. Alison Taylor in the Centre for Midwifery,Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH) whose third PhD paper has just been accepted by the International Breastfeeding Journal. Alison’s paper ‘Commercialisation and commodification of breastfeeding: video diaries by first-time mothers’ reminds us that many of aspects of our lives are increasingly commercialised in post-modern society. Although breastfeeding is perhaps a late comer to this process in recent years, it too has seen significant commercialisation facilitated by social media and our obsession with celebrity culture.
This paper explores how the commercialisation and commodification of breastfeeding impacts mothers’ experiences of breastfeeding. The paper highlights that women preparing for breastfeeding are exposed to increasing commercialisation. When things do not go to plan, women are even more exposed to commercial solutions. The impact of online marketing strategies fuelled their need for paraphernalia so that their dependence on such items became important aspects of their parenting and breastfeeding experiences. Dr. Taylor and her co-authors offer new insights into how advertising influenced mothers’ need for specialist equipment and services. Observing mothers in their video diaries, provided valuable insights into their parenting styles and how this affected their breastfeeding experience.
The International Breastfeeding Journal is an Open Access journal owned by Springer.
Taylor, A.M., van Teijlingen, E., Alexander, J., Ryan, K. (2020) Commercialisation and commodification of breastfeeding: video diaries by first-time mothers, International Breastfeeding Journal (accepted).
Taylor A, van Teijlingen, E.,Ryan K, Alexander J (2019) ‘Scrutinised, judged & sabotaged’: A qualitative video diary study of first-time breastfeeding mothers, Midwifery 75: 16-23.
The globalisation of football means it can now be found in most parts of the world. It is celebrated as the national sport in many countries. But, we forget that “football” actually means “men’s football”. It’s the same with other popular sports – our habit is to refer to basketball and women’s basketball, cricket and women’s cricket, ice hockey and women’s ice hockey. This naming places men’s football as the dominant universal and natural norm, while women’s football becomes the “other” version.
If we want a level football playing field, then “football” should be redefined by changing our reference to tournaments, championships and leagues to “men’s football” if that is what is being played. It’s time we started referring to the men’s football World Cup, just as we refer to the women’s football World Cup.
Women and girls have long been treated as second-class citizens in the many worlds of football, including playing, officiating, governing and spectating. And indeed, in the build up to the 2018 men’s World Cup, there was much discussion about racism and homophobia – but practically none about football, gender, sexism and misogyny.
The histories of the development of football in most countries around the world show that women and girls have been denied access to pitches, equipment, coaches, training, stadiums and financial support. These material opportunities are important because they enable and validate participation – and full football citizenship.
Finland takes on Austria in a qualifier for the 2019 Women’s World Cup. EPA
Media sport pages cover men’s sport. During the football season, the coverage is dominated by stories of men’s football. Women footballers seem to not exist. The sport press obliterates them.
But women and girls are playing, officiating, spectating and commentating on the game in ever increasing numbers around the world. The England women’s team outperforms the men’s team on the European and world stage. They are currently ranked ten places higher, in second position. And yet, the gender pay gap in football is atrocious.
While Russia, as host of the men’s football World Cup 2018, has been criticised for its poor record in dealing with homophobic and racist abuse, nothing has been said about gender-based abuse or discrimination.
Instead, ahead of the men’s World Cup, Russian MPs have been arguing over whether Russian women should or should not have sex with visiting (presumably male) football fans. The UK Foreign Office released advice on race and LGBT concerns, but there’s nothing on how sexist chanting can make men’s football a hostile environment for women. You only need to look at the sexism experienced by doctor Eva Carneiro and assistant referee Helen Byrne in the men’s premier league to see how this plays out.
What’s more, many of the concerns about homophobia and racism at the men’s World Cup stem from wider cultural issues in Russia. The same problems are evident with sexism and misogyny, yet they are curiously absent from the discussion when it comes to football. Cultural problems that affect men extend into the sporting arena, but not those that affect women.
In 2017, the Russian parliament passed legislation loosening laws on domestic violence. Russian women who support the #MeToo movement have come up against draconian assembly laws that say only one person is permitted to make a public protest.
There are no campaigns in international men’s football that aim to stop sexism, or call for anti-sexism and an end to gender-based violence.
Meanwhile, the women and girls who have fought hard to play football often encounter negative responses from the general public and from the media. Sport sociologists have found that sportswomen are trivialised, sexualised and experience symbolic annihilation – they simply don’t exist in images of the sport. A recent poster depicting Iranian fans is a prime example. Not a single female face features.
Women’s and girls’ sporting achievements are reduced as a result of ridicule. Their bodies are considered sexual objects rather than for playing sport. Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s comment that women should play in tighter shorts to attract more fans to the game is a classic example of this. More recently, feminist author Laura Bates challenged FIFA for describing player Alex Morgan as “easy on the eye and good looks to match” as well as the FA for tweeting about “lionesses go back to being mothers, partners and daughters” after playing in the women’s World Cup.
It’s easy to imagine that this men’s World Cup in Russia will continue to disregard gender, sexism and misogyny. And yet, sport, specifically football, has potential to incite change, and reform.
Renaming to men’s football is an easy and simple step in the direction towards equality. We may as well start with the men’s World Cup 2018.
Diagnosing autism is expensive and time consuming, so a screening tool is used to filter out those people who are unlikely to be diagnosed as autistic. This is all well and good, but our latest research suggests that a widely used screening tool may be biased towards diagnosing more men than women.
Earlier studies have cast doubt on the ability of one of the leading screening tools, called Autism-Spectrum Quotient, to accurately identify people with autism. Our study decided to look at another screening tool that hasn’t yet been investigated: the Ritvo Autism Asperger Diagnostic Scale-Revised (RAADS-R), a widely used questionnaire for assessing autism in adults with average or above average intelligence.
We compiled the RAADS-R scores of over 200 people who had a formal diagnosis of autism. We compared scores between autistic men and autistic women on four different symptom areas: difficulties with social relationships, difficulties with language, unusual sensory experiences or motor problems, and “circumscribed interests” (a tendency to have very strong, fixed interests).
As there are known sex differences in these areas – for example, with women being better at hiding social and communicative difficulties, and men being more likely to show obvious, and hence easier to detect, circumscribed interests – we wanted to know whether RAADS-R was able to pick up these differences.
Our analysis showed that it didn’t: we found no sex differences in RAADS-R scores between autistic men and women in social relatedness, language and circumscribed interests.
A possible explanation for this result is that, since RAADS-R depends on people accurately judging and reporting their own symptoms, sex differences may only emerge when behaviour is diagnosed by an experienced clinician. Previous studies have shown that autistic people often lack insight into their own behaviour and find it difficult to report their own symptoms.
Another likely reason for finding no sex difference in autism traits is that this and most other studies only include autistic people who have received a formal diagnosis through assessment with the very tools and tests we are investigating. As diagnostic and screening tools (including RAADS-R) were developed with male samples, they are most likely to identify autistic women with the most male-like profiles.
This might explain why fewer women tend to be diagnosed. It could be, then, that the screening tests filter out all of the autistic women with more female-like autism traits, and the autistic women with more male-like traits go on to be diagnosed. Or it could be that the underlying sample is biased because the formal diagnostic tools select people with more male-like traits, and the screening tool merely reflects this underlying bias.
Our results could show that our sample didn’t represent a diverse range of autistic women, then. And this is a problem that affects all research on sex differences in autism.
As more males than females have received a diagnosis of autism, many of the theories we have about autism are based on these diagnosed cases, and, as a result, may only apply to males. Likewise, as we base our screening tools and diagnostic tools on males who have been diagnosed, we may only pick up women who show male-like symptoms.
We could be missing the women who have very different, more female presentations of autism, but who still show the core features that are central to the diagnosis. These include problems with social interaction, communication and restricted behaviour and interests.
Because screening and diagnostic tests focus on the most common, male manifestations of these core symptoms, females tend to be overlooked. Circumscribed interests in males, for example, are more likely to be based on unusual topics, whereas girls and women may centre their interests on things like celebrities or fashion, only the intensity of the interest sets them apart from non-autistic females.
One clear difference
There was only one prominent sex difference that emerged in our study: autistic women reported more sensory differences and motor problems than autistic men. Sensory and motor symptoms are common in autism. People may be over or under sensitive to sights, sounds, touches, smells and tastes, and are often clumsy and poorly coordinated.
This self-reported finding, that women have more sensory and motor symptoms than men, needs to be investigated more thoroughly. However, it appears to be consistent with a few studies that have found that autistic women do have more sensory and motor symptoms than men.
If these types of symptoms are especially problematic for autistic women, they could be important for providing a diagnosis. Although RAADS-R measures sensory and motor symptoms, they play a very minor role in gold-standard diagnostic tests, such as the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule.
Diagnosis is important for autistic people for many reasons. For example, it is the only way they can access support services, such as dedicated support workers to help them with activities at home or in daily life. They might also receive financial support if they need it. (Unemployment affects most of the autistic population and may in part be due to high levels of mental illness in this group.)
Other people have spoken about how having a diagnosis has helped them understand the struggles they’ve faced in their lives – that these things weren’t their fault. And it has helped them meet other people who accept them for who they are.
Huge numbers of pregnant women and new mothers are taking their own lives in Nepal as they deal with extreme poverty, natural disasters, domestic violence and oppression. Research shows suicide represents 16% of all deaths in women of reproductive age. The rate is higher than previously recorded and there has been a considerable increase over the past few years. But a new project which trained midwives about mental health issues might hold the key to turning this around.
Suicide is primarily associated with unwanted pregnancy or the feeling of being trapped in poverty or situations of sexual and physical abuse. A study of 202 pregnant women (carried out between September and December 2014) found that 91% of them experienced some kind of physical, emotional or sexual abuse – mostly at the hands of their husbands and/or mother-in-laws.
Pregnancy is a known trigger for mental health problems. But gender discrimination and domestic violence are making matters worse. In addition to these issues, natural disasters are also a huge contributing factor to the spiralling mental health problems of young mothers.
Lack of control
In Nepal, making decisions about seeking maternity care is not in the hands of the pregnant woman but usually lies with her mother-in-law or husband. When young women marry they move in with their husbands’ family and their lives are ruled by their in-laws. These women often have little say in seeking health care during pregnancy, childbirth and the postnatal period.
In many poor families, husbands migrate for work leaving their young wives with family. Nepal has a real migrant workers economy with close to 50% of Nepalis relying on financial help from relatives abroad. Mental health problems can worsen for women who have been taken away from their own families. In other cases, young women face domestic violence due to their husbands’ drinking leading to mental health issues and suicide.
There is also a lack of understanding of pregnancy and childbirth-related mental health issues and husbands and mothers-in-law often fail to support these vulnerable young women. They in turn are reluctant to seek help due to the stigma associated with mental illness.
Cultural and social norms
Cultural practices and social norms, like gender inequalities and early marriage, hinder women who have a lack of choice when it comes to their role as mothers. There is also a preference for sons rather than daughters, who are seen as an “economic burden” in many families. If a woman is expecting a daughter, especially for the second or third time, this can also trigger mental health issues.
Depression and anxiety are common and affect ten to 15 out of every 100 pregnant women in the country. Postnatal depression is often reported, but less attention is given to more common and less obvious mental health issues.
Natural disasters and midwives
Recurrent earthquakes and floods exacerbate issues of depression and helplessness as women are forced to live in temporary shelters and have the burden of increased poverty.
For many rural Nepali women, the most qualified birth attendant they can expect to look after them is the Nepali Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANMs). But a study found that they received little or no formal training on perinatal mental health issues. Although there have been gradual improvements in health care for women during pregnancy, mental health support is leaving many women feeling that suicide is their only option.
As part of a Tropical Health and Education Trust project, funded by DFID, around 80 ANMs were trained on perinatal mental health issues. The project used UK-based volunteers in Nepal over two years.
The training helped raise awareness of mental health well-being and improved access to mental health care for pregnant women and new mothers. This is a vital first step towards improving community-based services for pregnant women in rural Nepal. But to offer hope to more young women there needs to be a significant increase in this type of training and awareness raising.
Yesterday (Monday 26th February) we disseminated the preliminary findings of our study on ‘Health vulnerabilities of cross border migrants from Nepal.’ The study was funded by IOM (International Organisation for Migration) in Kathmandu. The main findings were outlined one of the researchers from Green Tara Nepal.
The study was conducted in Nepal by Nepali researchers Drs. Pratik Adhikary, Nirmal Aryal and Raja Ram Dhungana, with methodological support from Prof. Padam Simkhada (Liverpool John Moores University) and BU’s Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen. The mixed-methods study included a cross-sectional study of 752 Nepali migrant workers who had returned from working in India as well as focus groups and interviews with a sub-sample of returnees and interviews with two key informants. The research team also highlighted some key issues raised in two recent migration and health papers co-authored by some of the contributors to the dissemination event [1-2].
The project has strong link with Bournemouth University, Prof. Simkhada is Visiting Professor in BU’s Faculty of Health & Social Sciences (FHSS), Dr. Pratik Adhikary is a BU Ph.D. graduate and Dr. Nirmal Aryal has just been appointed in FHSS as a Post-Doctoral Researcher in preparation for REF 2021.
Simkhada, P.P., Regmi, P.R., van Teijlingen, E., Aryal, N. (2017) Identifying the gaps in Nepalese migrant workers’ health and well-being: A review of the literature, Journal of Travel Medicine24 (4): 1-9.
Simkhada, P.P., van Teijlingen, E.R., Gurung, M., Wasti, S. (2018) A survey of health problems of Nepalese female migrants workers in the Middle-East and Malaysia, BMC International Health & Human Rights 18(4): 1-7. http://rdcu.be/E3Ro
Our BU briefing papers are designed to make our research outputs accessible and easily digestible so that our research findings can quickly be applied – whether to society, culture, public policy, services, the environment or to improve quality of life. They have been created to highlight research findings and their potential impact within their field.
This research reflects on practice-led research involving a community video project in southern India – Andhra Pradesh. Four of the women involved in this project were asked if they would use their cameras to film their everyday lives.
The aim of this paper was to build on current practice by combining participatory filmmaking with traditional observational documentary techniques and video diary interviews to locate a ‘third voice’ in order to create an engaging narrative and new perspectives on life in rural India.
Pourakhi, meaning self-reliant in Nepali, was established in 2003 to advocate for the rights of women who returned to Nepal after having worked abroad. The current Chair Manju Gurung is co-author on our paper.
Since 2003, Pourakhi has established a number of programmes around pre-employment, pre-departure, employment and post arrival support. In 2009, it opened a Shelter Facility to provide a safe space for women who returned to Nepal and were not able to rejoin their family and community. Pourakhi recognized that many women who returned from abroad had been victimized abroad and needed to seek relief from the government. In order to provide assistance to these women, In addition, Pourakhi established programmes to empower women after they return to Nepal from foreign employment. More specifically, Pourakhi established a financial literacy programme to educate women and an in business skills.
Pourakhi has been instrumental in ensuring that the voices of migrant women workers are heard and reflected in national policy and law. Additionally, it has successfully lobbied the government to ratify a number of international laws needed to protect the rights of female migrant workers.
Although Pourakhi began as an organisation by and on behalf of women, it has recognized that all migrant workers have the right to safe migration. Therefore, Pourakhi now assists both woman and men in all stages of the migration process.
The other two Nepali-speaking co-authors are Prof. Padam Simkhada from Liverpool john Moores University, who is also Visiting Professor in Bournemouth University’s Faculty of Health & Social Sciences and Dr. Sharada Prasad Wasti who is working for the Institute for Reproductive Health at Georgetown University, Washington, DC in the USA.
#TalkBU is a monthly lunchtime seminar on Talbot Campus, open to all students and staff at Bournemouth University and free to attend. Come along to learn, discuss and engage in a 20-30 minute presentation by an academic or guest speaker talking about their research and findings, with a Q&A to finish.
North Korean women are routinely subject to systemic sexual violation. But for the many who successfully escape their country to also overcome hunger, the search for freedom is just as tough, as they are frequently abducted, sold and exploited by traffickers.
Dr Hyun-Joo Lim will be discussing her research on North Korean female defectors living in the UK and the systemic human rights abuse they experienced both inside and outside their homeland.
Dr Sachiko Takeda, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Sheffield and Women and Work Research Center (Japan), has been carrying out a research project ‘Developing Women’s Careers in Japan’, funded by the British Academy and Leverhulme. As part of the research finding dissemination, Sachiko and the team recently hosted a workshop at J.P. Morgan’s head office in Tokyo; welcoming 40 attendees from industry, mainly representatives of large organisations’ CSR and diversity related activities. The venue was provided through Ms Tsui, Head of Global Philantropy, Asia Pacific at J.P. Morgan Chase, who supported the project’s purport.
Photo courtesy of Kanae Tomiyama
The project corresponds to a recent call for emergency measures to create a better work environment for women’s career development. Despite that, Japan has one of the most educated female populations in the world, women are often reported to face substantial difficulties in advancing careers at Japanese firms. Nevertheless, some women do manage to progress to senior levels, and it is the aim of the project to understand their career experience, particularly the problems they had faced and how they overcame those barriers. To achieve this aim, Sachiko conducted 25 face-to-face interviews with Japanese women who held managerial and professional roles in large enterprises.
At the workshop, the project team presented the summary of findings and made the following three suggestions to Japanese organisations: 1) organise workshops to raise awareness of male managers; 2) establish practices of women-to-women mentoring; and 3) improve work-life balance for both men and women. In the panel discussion that followed the presentation, the panellists encouraged women to propose, create and implement new systems themselves at organisations for women’s career development. At the same time, the importance of including small and medium sized organisations, which are the majority in Japan, in the movement and extinguishing prejudice against single and/or childless women was also claimed.