SERS PhD students receive UW Gender Equity Research Grants

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Congratulations to SERS PhD students Madu Galappaththi and Lauren Smith on receiving UW Gender Equity Research Grants.

Thanks to the support provided through the University of Waterloo Gender Equity Research Grants Initiative, two SERS PhD students are leading research initiatives on gender and environment issues.

Madu GMadu Galappaththialappaththi will examine the gender dimensions of ‘dried fish value chains’ in South Asia. Dried fish production-consumption systems are organized as value chains, where women participate in all aspects of the chain from fish harvesting and processing (e.g., sun drying, salting, smoking) to marketing. Women in these roles generate significant social and economic benefits to fishing households, communities, and local economies at large. However, there has been inadequate attention devoted to gender equity issues in this context. As part of the grant, Madu will also lead on-campus workshop and dialogue specifically focused on mainstreaming gender issues within the context of University of Waterloo’s strategic research priority areas of water and climate, in conjunction with key university partners (IC3 and SWIGS).

Lauren SmithLauren Smith will examine sources of gender bias from messaging in water innovation funding. Lacking gender representation is recognized in both water and innovation sectors, but reasons why are less understood. It may, in part, be related to how water issues are presented in funding applications, such as pitch presentations. Threatening water messaging may trigger mortality reminders and evoke implicit gender biases from funding decision-makers. These primarily male decision-makers will seek to strengthen their cultural identity in response to threatening messaging by preferring those that are most like them, i.e. male innovators. Lauren will examine gender dimensions in watertech hubs and test the influence of water message framing in pitches on decision-makers. Lauren will share findings through workshops to inform entrepreneurial hubs and other innovators of message framing importance in the quest for just gender representation.

Congratulations to both Madu and Lauren!

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