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Interdisciplinary research routes on gender and social policy

7 February 2020

Female market stall holder in Nairobi, Kenya

This blog is written by Dr Lorena Lombardozzi, Lecturer in Economics at The Open University.

On 30 October 2019, the Gender and Social Policy research group (which sits within the Innovation, Knowledge and Development research network at the OU) held its second, one-day workshop, 'Building the OU gender and social policy network, global governance and policy impact'.

The workshop was attended by a wide and interdisciplinary audience based at the OU, including staff from Geography, Social Policy and Criminology, Economics, the Faculty of Business and Law, the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies and Development Policy and Practice.  

The event focused on three themes:

  1. The morning session addressed various aspects of gendered capability, wellbeing and entrepreneurship in various contexts of the Global South. Dr Cristina Santos presented her research on 'Group versus individual relational capabilities: why it matters for gender'. Dr Michael Ngoasong presented his work on 'Investing with a Gender Lens: Fund Managers’ Narratives about African Women Entrepreneurs'. Dr Lorena Lombardozzi discussed her paper 'Unpacking gender multidimensional inequality in low-income countries: the case of Uzbekistan'. In the Q&A, an insightful ‘compare and contrast’ analysis was developed around the positionality of women in developing countries in relation to the economy, the market and the family, with a strong emphasis on the conditions of women’s work and entrepreneurship, and possible stigma and discriminatory social norms attached to it.
  2. After lunch, Professor Nicola Yeates presented her new book 'International Health Worker Migration and Recruitment: global governance, politics and policy'. The discussant and international guest Dr Lorraine Frisina, Senior Research Fellow University of Bremen, Germany, emphasised the ability of the book of mapping the current tensions among stakeholders, global policies and health-related regulations, and practitioners on the ground.  
  3. In the afternoon, a second round of presentations addressed two crucial topics in the gender debate, international migration and finance. Dr Gunjan Sondhi presented her research on 'gender and international student migration' with a focus on STEM students, and Dr Ariane Hillig (Lecturer in Economics at Goldsmiths, University of London) explored the gendered dimension of financial investments and asset management among UK households with ‘Many Bags in the Corner’ – Intra-Household Imbalances in Times of Asset-Based Welfare? Both presentations pointed out how financial access is linked and conditioned by gender norms which shape aspirations and objectives in education, knowledge and wealth. At the end of the workshop Ariane said “I really enjoyed the workshop and I think it was a great opportunity to present work in progress. The size of the workshop was perfect for in-depth discussions. The comments helped me to refine my framework and gave me ideas for two new projects.”

On the day, innovative bridges and links among interdisciplinary thematic areas were identified, and the workshop confirmed to be a useful platform to brainstorm about future research projects.

The next gender and social policy workshop will be in spring, if you want to propose a particular panel, or present a paper, please get in touch with Dr Lorena Lombardozzi.

5 of the presentations from the day can be downloaded below:

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To find out more about our work, or to discuss a potential project, please contact:

International Development Research Office
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
The Open University
Walton Hall
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United Kingdom

T: +44 (0)1908 858502