July 17, 2019
For Immediate Release
Waterloo – Wilfrid Laurier University researchers have received more than $5 million in funding through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). Thirty-six Laurier faculty members working in a broad range of areas, from advancing Indigenous environmental stewardship to studying the effects of paternity leaves on men’s career outcomes, received funding through the Connection, Insight and Talent programs, while 14 doctoral students and 18 master’s students received funding through fellowships and scholarships.
“We are extremely proud of the innovative and high-quality research that is conducted at Laurier,” said Jeffery Jones, interim associate vice-president: research. “Our researchers are leaders in a wide range of social sciences and humanities fields, from economics to social work and education. This funding will provide the essential support they need to continue to make an impact, both locally and globally.”
Lea Caragata, professor and associate dean of the PhD program in the Faculty of Social Work, has been studying the experiences of low-income single mothers for more than a decade. She has received Insight Grant funding of just over $223,000 to turn her attention to the contributions of youth in these families.
Caragata will study the roles that youth play through paid and unpaid labour, including domestic and caring work, to support their families. She will conduct interviews and focus groups with youth in Vancouver and Toronto to determine how and to what extent youth are working for their families and the impact of this labour on their health and well-being. She will also look for factors within the family and community that can help support youth resiliency, or not, and the effects of a youth’s contributions on their resiliency.
The results of Caragata’s study could be used to inform and improve social welfare policies and programs in Canada and the U.S., where income disparity has led to an increasing number of families living in poverty.
Jenna Hennebry, associate professor at Laurier and the Balsillie School of International Affairs and co-founder of the International Migration Research Centre, has been awarded nearly $350,000 through SSHRC’s Insight Grants to support her work examining the role of gender in labour migration governance and its impact on the human and labour rights of women migrant workers around the world.
Hennebry examines bilateral labour migration agreements between governments to regulate the movement of migrant workers between states. She says many agreements serve to entrench gender discrimination and it is not clear whether these agreements help protect the labour and human rights of women migrant workers. The question is increasingly pressing since more women are migrating independently for work than they ever have, and many face gender discrimination and violations of their rights.
Along with collaborators from Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Qatar and the University of West London, the funding will help Hennebry analyze hundreds of these agreements, interview organizations and governments and conduct focus groups with women migrant workers over several years in several different countries, including Morocco, Spain, the Philippines, Germany, Qatar and other Gulf states, Mexico and Canada. The research collaborators will also be developing an online gender-based assessment tool, which they hope governments and organizations will use to improve their own public policies.
Victoria Daniel, a PhD student in the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics Organizational Behaviour and Human Resource Management program, is one of six doctoral students at Laurier who has been awarded a Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship. As part of her dissertation work, she is studying when and how personal activities – those that are outside of work and separate from family, such as exercise, volunteering and art – can help employees develop skills, knowledge and perspectives that improve their work performance.
A shift away from traditional family roles and obligations has meant more time for personal activities for many Canadian workers, but it is not clear how and why these activities can improve performance at work or how to harness that benefit. To better understand this issue, Daniel will survey employees across North America to determine the conditions under which employees are able to apply the skills, knowledge and perspectives they’ve gained from these activities to their work. With this knowledge, she will create a tool to help employees better apply what they’ve gained from their personal activities to their work. Her research will also be useful for businesses looking to create more inclusive work-life policies that meet the needs of the entire workforce, rather than just those with conventional family demands.
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