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Spotlight on OU women researchers who #Choose to challenge

Sparked by the theme of International Women’s Day 2021, this spotlight looks at six OU women who have used their research to challenge world views.

Destigmatising abortion

Lesley Hoggart, Professor of Social Policy Research in the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies, has raised awareness of the problem of abortion-related stigma, the need for non-judgmental care among abortion providers and the medical profession. The impact of this research has been to reduce feelings of blame, shame and isolation in women who have had abortions and a raising of public awareness of how common abortion is.

Challenging the blame culture in policing

Dr Leah Tomkins, Senior Lecturer in Organisation Studies in the Faculty of Business and Law, developed a Blame to Praise model for London’s Metropolitan Police. The model identifies the five main reasons for failure and distinguishes between those requiring censure for misconduct and those which are opportunities for improvement and innovation. It has been implemented both in the Met and by the police regulator, the Independent Office for Police Conduct, and has resulted in a change to statutory legislation.

Improving the security and public understanding of migrants

Research led by Marie Gillespie, Professor of Sociology in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, highlights the experiences of migrants. Her collaborative research led to a new digital platform for migrants improving information security for over 53.4 million users. It also underpinned the co-production of the multi-award-winning OU/BBC documentary series Exodus: Our Journey to Europe that reached 4.39 million viewers globally. Her most recent research with migrants examines the impact of COVID-19 on the lives of asylum-seekers and refugees.

Transforming how Art History is taught

Dr Leah Clark, Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is project lead on Open Arts Objects, an innovative project that provides free open access films and teaching support materials geared to the new A-level in Art History. These resources have reached more than 14 million people and have shaped curriculum and enhanced teacher and student understanding of global approaches to Art History.

Challenging how unhealthy food is marketed to young people

Dr Mimi Tatlow-Golden, Senior Lecturer in Developmental Psychology & Childhood in the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education & Language Studies, has conducted research revealing the detrimental nature of marketing unhealthy food to children and young people in digital media. Her findings are shaping public health in the UK, Europe, Asia and Latin America, and the knowledge of almost 2,000 parents and educators.

Creating menopause-friendly workplaces

Jo Brewis, Professor of People and Organisations in the Faculty of Business & Law, has researched the under-studied area of menopause at work and has contributed to the removal of the workplace taboo around menopause and to making organisations more menopause-friendly. Her research builds on a Government Equalities Office (GEO) commissioned report entitled The impact of menopause transition on women’s economic participation in the UK (2017) for which she was lead author.

Find out more about the impact of OU research

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