Substantive and publishable research is a key aspect of our work, alongside activist and aesthetic productions. The research plan and outcomes are noteworthy in the realms of aging/labor research and participatory research.
Between September 2022 and March 2023, the participatory research team will be co-analysing the anonymized interviews of 100 older women. The co-analysis of interviews is being done by our research team, led by the researchers from the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University and includes Advisory Group members: Atiha Chaudry, Rohina Ghafoor, Marie Greenhalgh and Tendayi Madzunzu.
First, the participatory element of the project is central to the work. The Advisory Group of 14 women represent an extremely diverse and empowered cross section of the Manchester population and have been participants in every aspect of the project, from the determination of areas to research, the questions, the recruitment of interviewees, and the analysis of data.
Second, the cross section of 100 interviews is so deeply representative of the intersectional issues faced by Manchester women that we feel the data pool is truly unique in the world of such studies. The work resulting from this research endeavor is bound to make a difference in local, perhaps national communities and among policy makers.
The research question being investigated is: “What are the inequalities facing women over 50 in relation to work?” From the interviews themselves we have isolated a number of key themes which we will be updating as our research progresses. Our analysis will be updated as it is completed.
In this theme we will be analysing the narratives to uncover the particular situations of the participants and to examine the factors and the circumstances which have influenced them in making certain decisions or taking certain actions. This includes issues such as culture, gender, family and finances.
This theme encourages us all to think about the choices and opportunities or even the lack of such choices and opportunities which our participants have faced. It represents examples and stories of the kinds of choices available, or not, or the kinds of unforeseen circumstances that women find themselves in, or the kinds of opportunities that are or were available to them in their lives. This includes issues such as the impact of Covid, the menopause, housing and migration.
In this theme, we are eager to capture the stories that women share about what they do, the value they bring to society and the kinds of resilience, strength and endurance they exemplify. This includes issues such as the skills of older women, their experiences and contributions, particularly during the pandemic.
We want to recognise the stories that are shared by the participants relating to the kinds of inequalities faced by them or the exclusion or lack of access that they have experienced due to discrimination and inequalities. Some examples of issues discussed here include: discrimination on the basis of race, disability and age, as well as the impact of gender discrimination arising from having children and raising a family.
The outcomes of this research will impact change in our communities. Besides the participatory research reports and recommendations, this involves a number of events and public engagement opportunities as well as learning opportunities. The Research Team will develop key recommendations for action in the form of a manifesto. We are committed to recommendations which are sustainable, real, and will change women’s lives for the better.