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Addressing Inequalities

November Project Highlight

Our project highlights aim to showcase quality research under our Adressing Inequalities theme and aid in creating a collaborative research culture.

Wellbeing Economies

By Dr Gerard McCartney (Sociology)

The globe is facing a series of inter-related and profound challenges. Climate change and ecological loss poses an existential threat and requires a radical and urgent change in economies. Life expectancy trends across many high income countries, including Scotland, have stalled since 2012, with mortality rising for those living in the most deprived areas... (read more)

March 2021 was Addressing Inequalities Month

Throughout March 2021 we highlighted inequality-related research happening in the College of Social Sciences and elsewhere.

As well as drawing attention to the relevant UN International Days marked in March each year, we hosted events and shared content over the entire month.

RECORDING AVAILABLE SOON - 26 March - Seminar - Addressing Poverty, Stigma and Aspirations


The Addressing Inequalities IRT invite you to join them for a seminar featuring global research tackling issues in Chile, Colombia, India and Brazil, as well as closer to home in N.Ireland.

The talks come from Kings College London and from colleagues at Glasgow:

  • Dr Sanchari Roy (KCL) – Sex workers, Stigma and Self-Image: Evidence from Kolkata Brothels
  • Alice Aldinucci (UofG) – Understanding aspirations: Why secondary TVET students aim so high in Chile?
  • Dr Kristinn Hermannsson (UofG) - Does affirmative action promote relative social mobility? Subject-choice, expected earnings and academic match of students at a Brazilian federal university
  • Dr Oscar Odena (UofG) - Studying social arts programmes for other-than-artistic purposes in conflict settings

Download a full abstracts for each of the talks as well as a biography of each speaker > 26 March 2021

RECORDING AVAILABLE ON REQUEST - Symposium - Addressing Inequalities within sustainable development

Request the recording of this event >

The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development aims to provide blueprint for global peace and prosperity for all people. Its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations requires strategies to improve health and education, spur economic growth, address climate change and preserve the natural environment.

This symposium, which is part of the College of Social Sciences Addressing Inequalities Month, seeks to critique the sustainable development goals in relation to addressing inequalities. Given that March 8 is International Women’s day, the symposium will offer an opportunity to also reflect on gender-specific concerns in relation to SDGs.  The 2½ hour symposium will take a highly interactive format and present 4-5 15min short talks by leading CoSS academics followed by discussion/Q&A.

Event Details

1. Women’s Rights and the Sustainable Development Goals: A Feminist Critique by Professor Nicole Busby

In the context of women’s rights, the Sustainable Development Goals signal a marked improvement in the UN’s goal-setting agenda. Not only do they include a stand-alone goal addressing gender equality and women’s rights (SDG5), but gender is also specifically referred to in several of the other goals, notably SDG4 and SDG8 which provide for quality education and decent work and economic growth respectively.  This indicates an attempt to mainstream gender in a way that was missing from their predecessors the Millennium Development Goals. However, critics have noted that the SDGs fail to take account of the structural causes of gendered inequality including social and economic factors which are themselves caused and reproduced by inequalities of power. These factors have been brought into sharp focus through the disproportionate gendered impacts of the current pandemic. Furthermore, the measurements and targets underpinning the goals are based on traditional economic modelling which prioritises growth over other potential measures which might be more conducive to the attainment of sustainable social justice for women and girls. Without greater attention to the structural, systemic and institutional root causes of gendered injustice, the SDGs risk reproducing existing inequalities and re-entrenching barriers to the full realisation of women’s rights.  In this presentation, I will explore this feminist critique of the SDGs and offer some reflections on the alternative or supplementary measures required to ‘achieve gender equality and to empower all women and girls’ as envisioned by SDG5. 

Nicole Busby is Professor in Human Rights, Equality and Justice in the School of Law. Her main areas of interest include sex discrimination, the reconciliation of paid work and unpaid care, the protection of social and economic rights and access to justice. She is currently the Chair of the Academic Advisory Panel of the National Taskforce for Human Rights Leadership and provides guidance to policymakers, including the Scottish Government, on Scotland's human rights and equality law framework.


2. The sustainable development goals, ethnicity and health inequalities by Professoe Vittal Katikireddi

The COVID-19 pandemic has drawn attention to the importance of addressing racial and ethnic inequalities in the UK and internationally. Such inequalities are likely to continue to be pressing, given the threats posed by the climate emergency and likely large migration flows that will result. The sustainable development goals include ethnicity, race and migration within them. Ensuring they are met will be important for ensuring health inequalities by ethnicity/race internationally are addressed.

S. Vittal Katikireddi is Professor of Public Health & Health Inequalities at the MRC/CSO Social & Public Health Sciences Unit, Institute of Health and Wellbeing. His research aims to improve knowledge about the social determinants of health, with a view to identifying the best approaches to improve population health and reduce health inequalities. He has served as a member of the ‘Health of the Public in 2040’ working group for the Academy of Medical Sciences.


3. How One Health approaches can help address inequalities by Professor Daniel Haydon

Drawing on SDG3 (Ensuring healthy lives), this talk will focus on how One Health approaches can address inequalities in communities dependent on animals, what the barriers are to doing so, and how by framing actions around addressing the predictable burdens of endemic diseases we can sustainably prepare ourselves for the unpredictable (such as the global COVID-19 pandemic).

Dan Haydon is Professor of Population Ecology and Epidemiology at the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health & Comparative Medicine in the College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences of the University of Glasgow. His research interests include quantitative modelling of ecological and epidemiological processes. He is the member of the Wellcome Centre for Molecular Parasitology, British Ecological Society, and the British Lichen Society. Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.


4. Quality Education: discourses and indicators and the implications for equality by Professor Michele Schweisfurth

The Millennium Development Goals focused primarily on access to education; the Sustainable Development Goals put quality education at the forefront.  This talk will explore this shift and the reasons behind it, focusing on compulsory schooling. It will critically examine how quality education is conceptualised and monitored, and whether this is likely to improve equality of access, experience, outcomes and benefits for all learners. 

Michele Schweisfurth is Professor of Comparative and International Education at the School of Education in the University of Glasgow. She is a comparative educationist interested in the tensions between global frameworks (such as children’s rights, and notions of ‘best practice’ in teaching and learning) and local and cultural imperatives. She is the University of Glasgow College of Social Sciences Champion for the Early-Career Development Programme and currently seconded to the UK Department for International Development as a Senior Research Fellow on the Education Research and Education Policy Teams.

READ ABOUT - Sex workers, stigma and self-image: evidence from Kolkata brothels

This paper studies the link between self-image and behavior among those who face stigma due to poverty and social exclusion. Using a randomized field experiment with sex workers in Kolkata (India), we examine whether a psychological intervention to mitigate adverse effects of internalized stigma can induce behavior change. We find significant improvements in participants’ self-image, their savings choices and health clinic visits. Administrative data confirm that these changes in savings and preventive health behavior persist fifteen and 21 months later respectively. Our findings highlight the potential of purely psychological interventions to improve life choices and outcomes of marginalized groups.

Visit Enlighten to learn more >

READ ABOUT - Glasgow Centre for Population Health

Since 2004, Glasgow Centre for Population Health (GCPH) has sought to generate insights and evidence, support new approaches, and inform and influence action to improve health and tackle inequality.

Working with a wide range of partners, they conduct research of direct relevance to policy and practice; facilitate and stimulate the exchange of ideas, fresh thinking and debate; and support processes of development and change.

Based in Glasgow's Olympia Building, GCPH have a focus on the particular characteristics of this city, but our learning and approaches are transferable to other cities worldwide.

Linking NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Glasgow City Council and the University of Glasgow, GCPH is funded by the Scottish Government.

You can read more about GCPH and their work here >

READ ABOUT - Inequality-connected International Days observed by the UN in March

"The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. The United Nations observes designated days, weeks, years, and decades, each with a theme, or topic. By creating special observances, the United Nations promotes international awareness and action on these issues. Each international day offers many actors the opportunity to organize activities related to the theme of the day. Organizations and offices of the United Nations system, and most importantly, governments, civil society, the public and private sectors, schools, universities and, more generally, citizens, make an international day a springboard for awareness-raising actions." - UN.org

1 March - Zero Discrimination Day

On Zero Discrimination Day this year, UNAIDS is challenging the discrimination faced by women and girls in all their diversity in order to raise awareness and mobilize action to promote equality and empowerment for women and girls.

8 March - International Women's Day

International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women, who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.

20 March - International Day of Happiness

Since 2013, the United Nations has celebrated the International Day of Happiness as a way to recognise the importance of happiness in the lives of people around the world. In 2015, the UN launched the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which seek to end povertyreduce inequality, and protect our planet – three key aspects that lead to well-being and happiness.

21 March - International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

This year, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is focused on the midterm review of the International Decade for People of African Descent undertaken by the Human Rights Council in Geneva

21 March - World Down Syndrome Day

Down syndrome occurs when an individual has an extra partial (or whole) copy of chromosome 21. It is not yet know why this syndrome occurs, but Down syndrome has always been a part of the human condition. It exists in all regions across the globe and commonly results in variable effects on learning styles, physical characteristics and health.

Adequate access to health care, to early intervention programmes, and to inclusive education, as well as appropriate research, are vital to the growth and development of the individual. Read more >

22 March - World Water Day

World Water Day celebrates water and raises awareness of the 2.2 billion people living without access to safe water. It is about taking action to tackle the global water crisis. A core focus of World Water Day is to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030.

WATCH NOW - Talks - Promoting gender equality through research

Watch now on the UofG Video Youtube channel >

11 March 2021

Celebrating International Women's Day with the School of Interdisciplinary Studies. Join us for an afternoon of talks on gender-based research:

  • Starting from Home - Reducing Gender Inequalities in Kenya and Tanzania
  • Women and Witch Persecution: Scotland, India, and the African Continent
  • Female take-up of STEM subjects and STEM careers
  • Assessing tourism's role in achieving Sustainable Development Goal 5: Gender Equality