Research Profiles


Bipasha Baruah: Canada Research Chair in Global Women's Issues

How to promote social equity in the global green economy

Devising concrete solutions for transitioning to a more socially equitable but less carbon-intensive (green) economy is an urgent global priority. This 5-year SSHRC-funded research project builds upon 2 previous SSHRC Knowledge Synthesis Grants (awarded in 2015 and 2017) that enabled the collection of secondary data on existing initiatives that promote employment equity in 4 sectors (clean energy, construction, manufacturing, transportation) that are critical to the Canadian and global green economy. Whereas previous research enabled us to simply document and synthesize information about existing programs and initiatives, this research program entails collecting primary data to understand them in more detail, to evaluate them for their effectiveness in promoting employment equity, and to understand their potential for replication in Canada and elsewhere. The primary focus of the proposed research is on policies and programs to promote decent work in the green economy (as defined by the International Labour Organization) in these 4 sectors and in 4 additional sectors: mining, forestry, agriculture, waste management and remediation. Employment equity, as defined by the Canadian Employment Equity Act, requires employers to engage in proactive employment practices to increase the representation of 4 designated groups: women, workers with disabilities, Indigenous peoples, and visible minorities. We include rural Canadians and newcomers to Canada in our definition of employment equity because they have been identified as underrepresented groups in Canada's green economy.

What does degrowth say about gender equality and social justice?

The concept of degrowth or planned economic contraction -- through strategies such as work-time reduction, part-time work, job sharing and flexible work, and the simultaneous expansion of social security nets through policies such as Universal Basic Income and Universal Social Protection -- has received significant attention within some European countries since the first International Degrowth Conference for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity was held in Paris in 2008. An evolving body of scientific evidence has emerged in the past decade that almost unanimously endorses the role degrowth in industrialized countries can play in balancing global economic needs with environmental concerns, thereby enabling humans to live within the Earth’s carrying capacity. However, within this literature, the link between degrowth and environmental sustainability is much more clearly established than the link between degrowth, gender equality and social justice. This SSHRC-funded research project reviews the existing literature and evidence on degrowth, gender equality and social equity, and identifies potential impacts degrowth in industrialized countries may have on gender relations, gender equality and social equity.

Gender equality, climate change and agriculture in the MENA region: priorities and possibilities

 The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is both disproportionately vulnerable to compound climate fragility risks and among the most gender unequal regions in the world. This ongoing research program is carried out in collaboration with the International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) with funding from various sources including the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research and the UN Food and Agricultural Organization. It enables us to understand the opportunities and challenges women experience in agriculture, the gendered effects and outcomes of climate change upon agriculture, and the roles women have played and could play in the future in adapting and building resilience to climate effects. We also identify gaps in evidence and knowledge and make practical recommendations for future research and public policy. 


Erica Lawson, Associate Professor

Current Research: 

The first objective of this SSHRC-funded research is to conduct an evaluation of the drop-in centre program for Merrymount Family Support and Crisis Centre in London, Ontario. The second objective is to explore how this drop-in program influences the motherhood experiences of the women who use the service. The significance of this study lies in evaluating a drop-in centre program designed for young mothers and the implications for informing best practices in the program as well as in similar services for young women in Canada. While the findings from on drop-in centre program are not generalizable, utilizing the lived experiences of the women in the program to examine its efficacy has the potential to result in new theoretical and conceptual tools for evaluating drop-in programs. There are a number of studies focussed on discussing and evaluating drop-in programs, particularly in the areas of health, drug use, and homelessness. However, few studies examine drop-in centre use from the point of view of young mothers to discern how, and if, these programs help the women to achieve their goals and how they shape the women's mothering practices in the process. With this in mind, the study has the potential to make contributions to thinking differently about how to evaluate drop-in programs for youth, and to feminist scholarship in the social sciences that take up the production of mothering practices and motherhood identities with respect to young women.