Undergraduates present their stories at the Feminist Research Cafe

On the morning of March 31, nine groups of students set up in the Otonabee Common Room to display their research completed throughout the semester. The students of Dr. May Chazan spent the last three months carrying out community research projects in hopes of making positive changes to the lives of others.

Chazan guided the students throughout their projects and the university’s Academic Skills Centre offered a great amount of aid.

However, the students designed their own research questions, chose their methodology to carry out and analyzed the data collected to prepare for this day.

The following is a brief summary of each groups’ research. Please contact Dr. May Chazan of the Woman’s Studies Dept. for more information.

The Heterogeneous Woman

Heidi Burns, Hayley Readman and Paige Wallace

To better understand the assumptions that may exist in non-governmental organizations of the Global North and how women of the Global South and their health issues are being portrayed by these organizations, the researchers looked closely at Doctors Without Boarder, Because I Am A Girl, and World Vision.

The theme of women of the Global South as passive victims continued to emerge. While there is a major focus on the social and physical wellbeing of women and children with an emphasis on economical development, there is very little attention brought to educating men about gender oppression and gender based violence. The three student researchers hope that these findings will encourage organizations to be more conscientious of the images or assumptions that they publicize.

Beyond the Desk

Melissa Hunt and Breanna Webb

Through a focus group with Peterborough front-line shelter workers, the group explored the kinds of supports and training currently offered for shelter staff in Peterborough to assist them in working with survivors of domestic abuse and mental illness. In particular, post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD).

The research concluded that restricted funding and a deficit in mental health education adds additional stress to shelter staff that work to help shelter occupants. Their report suggested further research to be done around shelter staff career expectations in comparison to the reality, the nature of mental illness presented in formal education and determining further stressors in the field of work.

Attitudes and Perceptions: Sex Work

Reba Harrison

Harrison hoped to better understand the nature of the Trent community’s reproduction of stigma, and hypothesized that watching one or more of the ‘documentaries’ about sex work available on the student-popular Netflix may affect student perceptions and attitudes of sex work and workers.

Seeking honesty, she created a survey to be completed anonymously, but this method lacked clarity. A quantitative analysis of the data gathers did not offer any new insight on the issue. In conclusion, Harrison presented insight into why a quantitative survey did not work to answer the research question.

Women and Remand

Joy Doonan, Alicia Popelier, and Steffany Trites

Our research found that remand programs have the potential to benefit many criminalized women, but only if they are implemented in the right way,” read the research report. Systematic issues like poverty increase the likeliness that a woman may end up in prison while suffering from economic disadvantage. The report ends by suggesting future research to focus on the legality of remand as an entirety, among other things.

The Invisible Onus of Family Integration on Immigrant Women

By Shivani Patel and Yatshini Rajaratnam

Working with the New Canadians Centre to determine the barriers that exist for immigrant women to develop social and professional networks upon immigrants to Canada, the two research students interviewed front-line workers. Their research found that responsibility of family integration is often put onto the women of the family, while the process is made challenging by existing societal and structural barriers.

Occupational Gender Stereotypes

Abigail Kent and Danielle Dika

Kent and Dika analyzed the content of online and in-print services and details of five local employment agencies. The research looked specifically at language and imagery use alongside availability and accessibility of services, and services promoted for specific groups. Gender stereotyping and a lack of class diversity were clear in the analysis.

Employment agencies have a large amount of influence in the occupational assumptions made about gender. The group hopes to encourage agencies to use their power to challenge gender stereotypes and encourage career pathways of all kinds, regardless of gender.

Protection? A Dissemination Piece

Dorinda Afriyie, Merdia Hassan and Sylvia Muloway

Through an interview with Prof. Megan Gaucher who focuses her research on Canadian immigration, the group concluded that Canadian migration laws do not protect female migrant workers against sexual abuse.

Disjunctures Between Inclusion Policy and Inclusive Practice

Eugenia Ochoa and Victoria De Schiffart

Working with The Stop’s Drop-in Program in Toronto, the team conducted participant observations, volunteered at lunch and debriefed with the staff. Additionally, a content analysis of the display boards and a document outlining The Stop’s policy for inclusivity was shared.

The research showed that the Drop-in Program is a male-dominated space and incidents of race-based discrimination between the women occurred. A combination of low staff, low funding and the less-than-visible policy appear to be the underlying issues that may cause this affect.

About Reba Harrison 31 Articles
You know that crazy cat lady with red hair, a love for charity, and a passion for social justice? That's me. I view everything in a critical light and am dedicated to bringing readers the alternative side of the truth. After Spring 2016, I will be entering my fifth and final year at Trent University as a Woman Studies and Business student. Where I will go next? Who knows! But I forsee a dozen cats in my future, and a long life in the Arthur newspaper's future.