I have studied how different configurations of elite gender, social capital, and experiential knowledge affect Canadian practices of water research, decision-making and governance.
I am not a gender specialist by training. I can’t do the field’s banter of theoretical ‘-isms’ and I only have the bare outlines of feminist history [this isn’t a badge of honour, just full disclosure]. But in and around the time that I birthed my second child (post-doc + colic!), was teaching full time, competing for a tenure-track job, caring for ill parents AND trying to arrive at work each day without spit up on my shirt, I woke up. There was an huge population of young, highly educated females in the water research/policy community. But as they moved up through the ranks, my female colleagues and friends were dropping back or dropping out. What was going on? This became a study on mentorship within the water research and policy communities. Mentorship in Canadian Water Organizations (completed)
Concurrently, conventional water-governance research tends to be gender blind and to focus on the role of explicit (often technical) knowledge. Yet other research has shown that diverse experiential knowledge, often expressed and understood through personal stories, can aid resource-management decision-making. We focused on how professionals draw on their social capital and experiential knowledge as they actively participate in the creation of Canadian and international water research and policy (WRP). The Song my Paddle Sings: Women’s Voices in Canadian Water Policy (completed)
Gender is one of my four research ‘themes’ but as older projects finished, my efforts in this area have slowed for the past year or so. I have a new project brewing and I’m looking for the a graduate student to undertake the research. Stay tuned.