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Gender

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Despite significant efforts over the decades, there are still many areas of social life in which men and women are not equal. There are many examples of unequal treatment within the labour market, health systems, justice systems and schools which are based wholly or partly on a person’s gender. These differences are spatially diverse and change over time. 
Our research will examine gender inequality across a range of different contexts, such as educational attainment, experience of crime and job opportunities and will attempt to disentangle its effect from other potential explanatory factors.

Our current active research projects on gender inequalities are listed below. These link closely with our research on Socio-Economic, Age, Education and Justice inequalities).

Research Papers

Maternal employment and the well-being of children living with a lone mother in Scotland

Previous research has shown that children who do not live with both of their parents fare worse on a variety of outcomes. However, less is known about the heterogeneity of children’s socioeconomic context and the factors that contribute to the negative effect of family structure. The study enhances understanding by regarding maternal employment as a differentiating element in children’s levels of socioemotional well-being. It also recognizes that not all types of employment act in the same way, and seeks to shed light on some of the mechanisms through which maternal employment operates on children’s well-being.

It addresses the following research questions:

1) Is maternal employment beneficial to the socioemotional well-being of children living with a lone mother?

2) Does the relationship between maternal employment and child well-being vary depending on the mother’s number of hours worked, or occupational status?

3) To what extent is the relationship between maternal employment and children’s well-being mediated by household income and by maternal psychological wellbeing?

Like Mother, like child? The intergenerational transmission of maternal offending

That parental offending acts as a strong risk factor for offending in children is well-established within criminology. Yet research on the effects of prior maternal offending is relatively limited, despite the fact that many women take on a significantly higher share of childcare responsibilities, and as such, might reasonably be expected to exert an especially strong influence on their children. Aimed in part at redressing this imbalance, this study investigates the intergenerational transmission of maternal offending, and whether prior maternal offending affects boys and girls in different ways. Drawing on the longitudinal Growing Up in Scotland survey, the analysis uses a series of regression models to assess to the risk of offending among a cohort of 12-year-olds.  In addition to maternal offending, the analysis also considers contemporaneous risk factors, including family functioning and structural deprivation, to ascertain whether past behaviours, more recent circumstances or a combination of both are most likely to predict offending in children.

Problem behaviour in children: policy, politics and social inequality in Scotland

This paper explores the impact of socio-economic and other inequalities on the risk of conduct disorder among a cohort of children aged 10 years in Scotland. Broadly defined, children with conduct disorder have a difficult time following rules and behaving in a socially acceptable way. In the UK, early onset conduct disorder is the main reason for referral to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. While there is an extensive literature on childhood conduct disorders, most research to date has focused on individual and family level factors, for example, child personality traits, family background and dysfunction, parenting styles and more recently, the impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). A similar focus is reflected within policy, whereby the main emphasis is on parenting classes and child psychological therapies. For example, the Scottish Government Mental Health Strategy 2017-2027 aims to have completed a national roll-out of targeted parenting programmes for three and four-year olds with conduct disorder by 2019-2020.

Social inequalities in attaining higher education in Scotland: New evidence from sibling data

Sibling designs are an important analytical strategy to capture the family environment as a global measure, providing a summary indicator of all measured and unmeasured characteristics shared by siblings at birth and during their upbringing, such as genes, social environment, siblings interactions and many others. This, in turn, allows us to assess the relative importance of shared family characteristics vs. individual characteristics and of different parental background measures within the total family shared environment. This paper will provide new and robust empirical evidence regarding social inequalities in HE graduation. Using new siblings’ data from the Scottish Longitudinal Study (SLS), the paper addresses the following research questions:
(1) What is the share of between and within family variance in siblings’ HE outcomes?  
(2) Does this differ by social class of origin and by other family characteristics?
(3) How much of the total variance between families is explained by parental social class, education and other family-level characteristics?

Against all odds: Enabling factors in early childhood for cognitive outcomes

This research investigates the extent to which children from more disadvantaged backgrounds achieve cognitive outcomes higher than their peers and the factors which are behind their more successful outcomes from a life-course perspective. The aim is to identify and understand specific factors and turning points in children’s lives which can help children to overcome the negative influences of the social disadvantage they are born in and to shed light on the mechanisms at play. Thus, we ask the following questions:
1)    To what extent do children from disadvantaged backgrounds attain successful cognitive outcomes?
2)    What are the key enabling factors that distinguish successful children from disadvantaged backgrounds (the ‘resilient’) from their peers who attain less? And what is the interplay between the enabling factors analysed?
3)    Are there turning points in the life-course of disadvantaged children which enable them to achieve better outcomes than expected?

Growing up with a lone mother in Scotland: the role of employment, childcare and family ties on children’s wellbeing

Increasing scholarly attention has focused on the link between family demography and inequalities, and its implications for children’s life courses. Children born from more disadvantaged families are more likely to experience family changes and structures that are associated with a loss of resources, such as their parents’ early and non-marital family formation, union instability and weaker labour market attachment. These experiences have important repercussions on children’s well-being and chances in life.

Mothers’ employment patterns and child behaviour: Comparing Scotland and Germany

The number of working women has markedly increased in recent decades. In this process, many debates have focused on how the children of working mothers fare in terms of well-being and development: On the one hand, maternal employment may negatively impact children because employed mothers have less time to spend with their child and they may be more stressed than non-employed mothers. On the other hand, increased family income and satisfaction derived from work may have positive effects on children. Maternal employment is socially stratified. Working in low-skilled occupation or stressful working conditions is more likely to be experienced by women in less favourable life conditions, particularly, low educated mothers. If these working conditions negatively affect child outcomes, then social inequalities are likely to accumulate. Therefore, studying the impact of maternal employment on child outcomes may shed light on processes of cumulative disadvantage in the early life course.
The key research questions are:
•    Does maternal employment affect the socio-emotional wellbeing of children growing up with a lone mother?

A crime drop for whom? Changing inequality in the profile of victims in Scotland from 2008-09 to 2017-18

Crime has fallen substantially over the last 30 or so year, in Scotland and elsewhere. One of the main questions raised by the ‘crime drop’ is whether all groups in society have benefited, or whether some groups have seen larger reductions in crime than others. We make explicit the distinction between two different types of victimization inequality measure which have previously been used to study changing victimization inequality over the course of the crime drop - what we term adjusted and unadjusted measures. We argue that these two measures relate to conceptually distinct quantities of interest which can inform different types of policy response to changing victimization inequality, informing victimization prevention and victim support services respectively. We empirically analyse the change in victimization inequality in Scotland between 2008 and 2017 using these two types of victimization inequality measure, considering a range of socio-demographic factors.

The impact of structural, systemic and social inequalities in childhood on adolescent offending and early adult criminal conviction

Abstract

The factors that determine young people’s involvement in offending and youth justice are multiple and complex, which makes it difficult to know what type of policy response is likely to be most effective.  Scotland has prioritised policies aimed at reducing child poverty, improving trauma informed practice and minimising the impact of formal system contact amongst those who get involved in offending.  But which is most likely to be effective and for what?  This paper examines data from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime to explore the relationship between early childhood experiences, offending in adolescence and criminal conviction in early adulthood.

Types of inequalities

Poverty, Adverse Childhood Experiences, Formal System Contact, Gender

Method

This research involves the use of latent class growth analysis (LCGA) and multinomial regression modelling.

Our other areas of research

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COVID-19

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Age

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Crime

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Education

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Employment

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Environmental

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Ethnicity

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Housing

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Justice

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Socio-economic

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Spatial

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Well-being