International Women’s Day (8 March) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

Our female researchers are engaged in a wide range of research that is having a global impact on society. Here are some examples of how their research is helping to transform the world:

Beth Clarkson
Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Science

“My work focuses on understanding the broad spectrum of challenges facing women coaching in the traditionally male-dominated sport of football, as evidence to suggest that a greater number of women are leaving the coaching profession then men.

“In the past, my work has examined the gender ratio of managerial appointments in English elite women’s football. Results indicated approximately 75 per cent of managerial appointments have been men, and 53 per cent of clubs have never appointed a female manager. This highlights the significant and ongoing issue of female under-representation in the management of women’s football in England.

“Recently, my research has identified female football coaches experience negative attitudes based on their gender from players, parents, male colleagues, and even employers. Coaches reported harmful consequences on their ability to perform and well-being. I am now working with collaborators to help tackle major barriers that exist for women to address the imbalance in the number of male to female coaches.”

I am working with collaborators to help tackle major barriers that exist for women to address the imbalance in the number of male to female football coaches.

Beth Clarkson, Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Science

Amber Collings
Research Assistant, School of Criminology and Criminal Justice

“I am currently working on a project looking at the use of 3D technology like laser and CT scanning to visualise and analyse forensic evidence. The work could impact the way in which we present forensic evidence in court.”

Latha Davda
Clinical Director University of Portsmouth Dental Academy

“The reliance on international dental workforce is seldom reported, unlike those of doctors and nurses in the NHS. In 2016, out of the total 2255 newly registered dentists, 795(35 per cent) were qualified outside the United Kingdom and a more than half of those were women. Despite this huge contribution, little is known about the migration and integration experiences of these dentists.

“My research on “experiences of overseas dentists” will improve recruitment and retention of overseas dental workforce. Migrant women dentists from Non-EEA countries had to overcome barriers of registration examinations, immigration, financial difficulties and face long periods of deskilling, social and professional isolation before they could re-enter the profession compounded by raising a family and adjusting to spouses’ career pathways. Women dentists from EEA had job offers and relocation packages which facilitated integration. This research will be relevant to policy makers in dental education, regulators, NHS employers and commissioners.”

Judith Fletcher-Brown
Senior Lecturer, Marketing and Sales Subject Group

“Marketing has a major role to play in the solving some of today’s biggest health problems. My research focuses on identifying the challenges to raising awareness in India about breast cancer which will soon become catastrophic for this emerging economy. Breast cancer accounts for 32 per cent of all female cancers in India and unlike Western countries where incidence rates increase with age this is in reverse in India. Women seek medical treatment very late often due to cultural complexities leading to a lack of awareness about the early signs. The Indian health service will be coping with an epidemic unless an effective intervention strategy is achieved.

“The first phase of this research identified the essential cog in the communication wheel are Accredited Social Health Activist, nurses who operate at a community level. I am currently developing the next phase of this study involving a community based creative technologies solution to this communication challenge.”

My research focuses on identifying the challenges to raising awareness in India about breast cancer which will soon become catastrophic for this emerging economy.

Judith Fletcher-Brown, Senior Lecturer in Marketing and Sales

Dr Helena Herrera
Senior Lecturer in Pharmacy Practice

“My current research focuses on aspects of pharmacy practice that lead to widening access to pharmacy services in order to reduce health inequalities and address unmet health needs in the population. Recent projects have focused on evaluating the provision in community pharmacy of translated dispensing labels to patients with limited English proficiency and investigating service users, students and educators’ experiences of the provision of student-led general and oral health checks to hard-to-reach patients (typically homeless people).

“This work has enabled to better understand how these groups can benefit from services and to identify barriers and facilitators for the development of further initiatives. This can result on better use of pharmacy services, improved effectiveness and health outcomes.”

Dr Heather Massey
Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Science

“The University of Portsmouth has a 20-year long collaboration with the RNLI, the latest piece of work we are helping them with involves performing research to inform the messaging for the RNLI’s ‘Respect the Water’ Campaign. Over recent years, this campaign has grown in strength, with the aim to engage the public in understanding the dangers of being in and around water and how to help yourself should you find yourself in water accidentally. This year, the focus will be on this later message and the research we are undertaking will help to support the campaign messages.

“Our research involves establishing how people of all shapes, sizes, sexes, and races stay afloat in water.”

Karen Middleton
Senior Lecturer, Marketing and Sales Subject Group

“Gender stereotypes have become the norm in advertising but increasingly audiences find them offensive, simply annoying or indeed potentially harmful. In adverts women tend to be portrayed as secondary to men, often in domestic scenes and as physically perfect or sexual objects. With increased female participation in the labour force and accompanying changes in domestic structures these narrow depictions do not represent society accurately. More worryingly, by depicting unrealistic standards of beauty, advertising can produce distorted and negative body image within individuals.

“Advertising is designed to be persuasive, so it is no surprise that it influences our ideas of reality. Plus, its pervasiveness plays a big role in constructing identities, particularly in relation to gender. Despite wider gains in equality, intensified or stereotyped gender portrayals in advertising have survived perhaps due to the simplicity of the message they represent. In 2017, Britain’s advertising watchdog, the Advertising Standards Authority introduced new standards which could see advertising banned for featuring gender stereotypes.

“My research explores these stereotypes in detail and shows that brands can actually build closer relationships with consumers by depicting women more authentically.”

The so-called woke generation is exercising its power to hold large and previously unassailable brands or organisations to account.

Karen Middleton, Lead researcher

Professor June Purvis
Emeritus Professor of Women’s and Gender History

“My current research focus is the suffragette movement on which I have published extensively, a topic that is very relevant during 2018 when we celebrate the centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act which gave the vote to certain categories of women aged 30 and over, and to women graduates.  I have just published a biography of the one of the key leaders of the suffragette campaign Christabel Pankhurst: a biography (Routledge 2018) and I would hope by highlighting the struggles of Christabel and all involved in campaigning for votes for women to encourage people today to always vote at general elections since this democratic right was hard won.”

Dr Zoe Saynor
Senior Lecturer in Physical Activity, Exercise and Health

“My recent research focuses on exercise for individuals with chronic health conditions, for example cystic fibrosis and end stage renal disease.

“I am also a semi-pro athlete – and I try and balance all of this with my academic career.”

Dr Lisa Sugiura
Senior Lecturer in Criminology and Cybercrime &
Dr Alessia Tranchese
Lecturer in Communication and Applied Linguistics

“Misogyny online is a relatively new form of hate crime, however law enforcement frequently lacks the training to understand it and, therefore, fails to act on victims’ complaints. The ‘Language of Cybersexism’ is a project that uses Corpus Linguistics, i.e. a Big Data approach to the study of the language, to investigate cybersexism in social media, where the phenomenon is particularly prevalent.

“The aims of the project are twofold: on the one hand, it aims to provide insight into the workings of the of cybersexism and contribute to the identification of its linguistic features in order to identify it more easily; on the other, it aims to contribute to the fight against online hate against women by providing a training board for police forces and equipping them with the tools to recognise it and deal with it as a form of hate crime.”

Helen Thompson-Whiteside
Senior Lecturer, Marketing and Sales Subject Group

“Marketing is one of the greatest challenges for all entrepreneurs.  Unlike larger firms, the success of a start-up and its ability to engage an audience, will depend largely on the marketing skills and personal brand of the owner. This is considered a particular challenge for female entrepreneurs, with many lacking the knowledge or confidence needed to develop marketing activities for their business. Women are also often reluctant to promote themselves, showing low levels of self-promotion with self-promotion even identified as a risk for females. Yet, female entrepreneurship is seen as key to driving the global economy and delivering social change.

“The first phase of my research identified how women working for themselves are managing self-promotion and other Impression Management behaviours to build their personal and business brand.  Rather than simply replicating male entrepreneurial behaviours which may be uncomfortable or inappropriate for women, my findings support the conclusion that these women are developing their own set of entrepreneurial behaviours. They are sharing their weaknesses and fears (termed supplication) to engage with their audience and build a trusted business. Although how best to combine self-promotion and supplication is still a matter of individual experimentation.

“The next stage of my research will explore these findings further in advertising, an organisational setting in which they are very few women at the top to examine the role that self-promotion might be playing.”

My research identified how women working for themselves are managing self-promotion and other Impression Management behaviours to build their personal and business brand.

Helen Thompson-Whiteside, Senior Lecturer in Marketing and Sales