Are women ‘real’ sports fans? The importance of sport for female fans

Stacey Pope 150.jpgStacey Pope is an Associate Professor in the School of Applied Social Sciences, Durham University.

Her research focuses upon issues of gender inequality and sport and her research expertise is in the area of female sports fans. Her book The Feminization of Sports Fandom: A Sociological Study was recently published by Routledge.

If you’re a female fan of football or rugby, don’t expect a level playing field when it comes to being a supporter. Female football and rugby union fans in my research discuss how they have to routinely ‘prove’ their status as ‘real’ fans – usually to male supporters. Common stereotypes of female sports fans have included that they lack sporting knowledge, are only interested in the sexual attractiveness of (male) star players and are not as passionate or committed as male fans. Media coverage also typically represents women in subordinate ways; for example, a cursory internet search for ‘female fans’ brings up numerous sexualised images, doing little to challenge the perceptions of women as inferior sports fans. Continue reading

Learning to like robots

Sabine Hauert is Lecturer in Robotics at the University of Bristol, and the Bristol Robotics Laboratory. She’s also the President and co-founder of Robohub.org.Sabine Hauert 150.jpg

Robots hold the potential to improve the way we work, live, and explore new frontiers. But their success will depend on our ability to dehype the technology so that we can have a meaningful discussion about how the benefits will be shared by all. Continue reading

Quality of life in dementia: are the views of care home staff and relatives the same?

Sarah Robertson 150.jpgSarah Robertson is a PhD student with funding from the NIHR Collaborations in Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care. Sarah has been working as part of the Managing Agitation and Raising Quality of Life in dementia (MARQUE) team at UCL and this work inspired her thesis comparing the perspectives of paid and family carers in quality of life.

In 2012, the UK government announced that in the face of “one of the biggest health challenges ever” that it was time to “fight back”. These challenges were presented by dementia which to this day, remains a public and political priority. In the same year, David Cameron launched his first Dementia Challenge. In response, the ESRC and NIHR pledged £20 million towards Improving Dementia Care and a number of large research projects were funded to support the shared global objective of enabling people to live well with dementia. Continue reading

Disadvantage and worklessness: a longitudinal perspective

Rob DaviesRob Davies is Public Affairs Manager for CLOSER, the UK longitudinal studies consortium funded by the ESRC and the Medical Research Council. CLOSER brings together eight biomedical and social longitudinal studies, with participants born as early as the 1930s to the present day.

Before I worked for CLOSER I helped run a charity supporting vulnerable people with different needs, including addictions, mental health problems, debt or homelessness. I saw first-hand the damaging effects of these complex issues and the barriers people face in their attempts to get back to work and take advantage of opportunities many of us take for granted.

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Leaving and learning: should we raise the school leaving age?

Sarah Womack 150Sarah Womack is a former political and social affairs correspondent of the Daily Telegraph. Here she asks – should pupils stay in school until the age of 19?

This month (April 2017) marks the 70th anniversary of one of the UK’s most significant social reforms, but you probably couldn’t guess what it is. In 1947, when the school leaving age was raised from 14 to 15 – and, for the first time, there was secondary education for all – critics claimed there were not enough buildings or teachers to cope, and pupils would truant, leading to a crime wave. But serious revolt didn’t happen, and, 25 years later, the leaving age rose again to 16 – and, in 2013-15, participation in education or training was raised to 17, then 18. Continue reading