A new CILIA podcast episode – Sex Education: Experiences, Practices and Policies in the ‘Whirlwind’

In a new episode of the CILIA podcast series, Yvette Taylor, professor in the School of Education, University of Strathclyde,  speaks to Lucy Whitehouse who is the founder and director of Fumble, which is a sex education charity in the UK. Fumble makes digital resources on sex, relationships, healthy bodies, puberty, and mental health, co-creating content with young people, for young people. You can find a link to the podcast here and listen to the very interesting discussion to learn about experiences of, failures in and importance of sex and relationships education, which CILIA respondents in Scotland had much to say about.

Mums who smoke and their baby’s birthweight

In Episode 7 of Series 3 of the DIAL Podcast, Rita Pereira from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam and a member of DIAL’s Gene Environment Interplay in the Generation of Health and Education Inequalities(GEIGHEI) project, talks about her research looking at the links between mothers’ smoking and their baby’s birthweight.

The Interplay between Maternal Smoking and Genes in Offspring Birth Weight is a DIAL Working Paper by Rita Dias Pereira, Cornelius Rietveld and Hans van Kippersluis.


PremLife in Finnish ‘the Eve of the World Prematurity Day’ live stream event

The PremLife project joined a live stream event hosted by the Developmental Psychology Research Group from University of Helsinki together with the Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare, the University of Turku, the University of Oulu, and KEVYT the Finnish society for parents of preterms on the 16th of November 2020 – in other words, on the Eve of World Prematurity Day.

Here you can listen to presentations about the history of neonatal care for preterm borns in Finland, the experiences of parents of preterm children, and the educational trajectories of preterms, the latter of which was given by Professor Jani Erola (University of Turku), the co-PI in the LIFETRACK and EQUALLIVES projects of DIAL. The linked recording of the event includes also a panel discussion with, for example, two PIs of the PremLife project, Professor Katri Räikkönen (University of Helsinki) and Eero Kajantie, MD, PhD (the Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare; University of Oulu). Please note that the presentations and panel discussion are in Finnish.

The work and family lives of women in Israel

In the third Episode of Series 2 of our podcast looking at research emerging from the Equal Lives project, we talk to Zafer Büyükkeçeci from Humboldt University in Berlin and Professor Vered Kraus from the University of Haifa about their research, Work and family life courses among Jewish and Israeli-Palestinian Women in Israel. They use newly-available linked Census and administrative data to look at who leads a more advantaged or disadvantaged work-family life. They discuss how they created the life course groups, what they found and the implications of the research. 


Working with migrants: does it increase or decrease support for anti-immigration political parties?

In Episode 6 of Series 3 of the DIAL Podcast, Sirus Dehdari from the Swedish Institute for Social Research at Stockholm University and a member of DIAL’s Populism, Inequality and Institutions (PII) project, talks about his research looking at whether support for anti-immigration political parties increases or decreases when native-born voters work alongside migrants.

Workplace Contact and Support for Anti-Immigration Parties is a DIAL Working Paper by Henrik Andersson and Sirus H. Dehdari 



From outcast to citizen: the time travels of LGBTQI+ elders

In Episode 5 of Series 3 of the DIAL Podcast, Ana Cristina Santos from the CILIA project talks about her research looking at the life experiences of LGBTQI+ people in Portugal. Ana Cristina  from the Centre for Social Studies at the University of Coimbra has has been speaking with older people about what it was like for them growing up and living in times when gender and sexual diversity was prohibited.




Podcast Series: Comparing Intersectional Lifecourse Inequalities amongst LGBTQI+ Citizens in 4 European Countries’ (CILIA)

Yvette Taylor has produced a podcast series in which she speaks to ‘Comparing Intersectional Lifecourse Inequalities amongst LGBTQI+ Citizens in 4 European Countries’ (CILIA) user group members, and others that she has met in the course of the research – whether that’s in utilizing the facilities and events space, for example, at Glasgow Women’s Library, or in learning about new activities such as the LGBTI+ Elders Social Dance Club. The podcast features an overview by her, and interviews with Dr Churnjeet Mahn, University of Strathclyde, Lou Brodie of LGBTI Elders Social Dance Club, and Professor Sharon Cowan, University of Edinburgh.

Read more about the podcast series here.

Listen to the podcasts:

Anchor FM (main host) : https://anchor.fm/ciliapodcast

Google Podcasts: https://www.google.com/podcasts?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9hbmNob3IuZm0vcy8zMmRhZTJjNC9wb2RjYXN0L3Jzcw==

Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/id1529860775

Overcast: https://overcast.fm/itunes1529860775/the-cilia-podcast-lgbtqi-intersectional-lifecourse-in-equalities

Pocket Casts: https://pca.st/bb53lk1z

Radio Public: https://radiopublic.com/the-cilia-podcast-lgbtqi-intersec-WdJpwp

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/7hPQowyQu6WD7Cx0imcv0M

DIAL summer school on multidisciplinary inequality research

DIAL held a summer school for early career researchers on 17–19 August 2020 on the topic of multidisciplinary inequality research. Due to the covid-19 pandemic, the summer school was held online. Each summer school day started with a keynote lecture, all of which were open to registered participants. In addition to DIAL, these lectures were sponsored by the Inequalities, Interventions and New Welfare State research flagship center (based at the University of Turku), and the Turku Center for Welfare Research.

Anders Stenberg from Stockholm University gave a lecture on “Outsourcing Domestic Services and Female Earnings; Panel Register Data Evidence from a Reform” in which he presented his multidisciplinary research on a Swedish tax reform that lead to greater use of paid domestic services, such as cleaning. The research examined how this had impacted women’s labour force participation and thus their earnings. The talk also included a specific focus on the method used in this research, namely propensity score matching.

Sonia Bhalotra from the University of Essex gave a lecture on “Infant health, cognitive performance and earnings: Evidence from inception of the welfare state in Sweden” in which she presented research where digitized historical health and school records had been linked to register data to analyse the long-term impacts of one of the world’s first infant health interventions. She also focused on methodological considerations in terms of causal identification strategies using difference-in-difference approaches.

Rolf van der Velden from Maastricht University gave a lecture on ““It’s the skills, stupid!?”, on the role of education on labour market success” with the additional subtitle of “It’s not just the skills, stupid!?” in which he reviewed three approaches to the role of education and skills for labour market success in terms of their theoretical starting points as well as the empirical evidence for and against these approaches. He concluded that institutional influences have a major impact on the way in which education and skills are related to labour market success and that this should be addressed better in future research.

Each lecture was followed by summer school sessions where early career researchers from DIAL projects and the INVEST flagship research center presented their work-in-progress and gained feedback from both each other and the summer school teachers. The papers presented in the summer school covered various topics including demographic influences on women’s income trajectories, the role of parenting practices and genes for educational attainment, and labour market inequalities related to educational pathways and sexual orientation.

All the summer school teachers shared their experiences of conducting multidisciplinary research both in terms of the benefits as well as the challenges therein. Working in multidisciplinary teams was seen as particularly positive when different team members bring complementary and necessary expertise to a research question. However, different publication requirements across disciplines and issues of disciplinary boundary-making sometimes need to be negotiated.

Despite the fact that the summer school had to be held online, the early career researchers – and the teachers – participating in the summer school felt that it was a good experience, that the discussions were lively, and that the feedback on the papers was valuable – even if it would have been nicer to interact face-to-face!

You can read more about one summer school participants experiences here.

Second DIAL EU Stakeholder meeting: overcoming childhood disadvantages

23 June 2020

DIAL organized its second virtual EU Stakeholder meeting with the topic of overcoming childhood disadvantages on June 23, 2020. Researchers from four DIAL projects (IMCHILD, GUODLCCI, PremLife and SEED) presented their research on the causes and consequences of childhood disadvantages and how these can be addressed in Europe. Representatives from the European Commission’s Social affairs unit (DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion) and Evidence-based policy and evaluation unit (DG Education, Youth, Sport and Culture) took part in the discussion.

The meeting kicked off with introductory words from the DIAL scientific programme co-ordinator Elina Kilpi-Jakonen. This was followed by a presentation by Larissa Zierow from the IMCHILD project. Zierow presented results from two recent research articles. The first article studied the effect of mother’s staying at home for 12 months compared to 5 months on children’s long-term life satisfaction. The results reveal that staying at home for a longer period has a large positive impact on children’s later life satisfaction. The second study examined the impact of expanding the operating hours of universal day care on child development. The results indicate that expanding day care from half day to full day is beneficial especially for children of immigrant background in terms of overall school readiness. However, the study also found a negative effect on socio-emotional development among children from disadvantaged backgrounds. These controversial results could be due to the variation in the quality of the day care between the day care centers and the fact that resources were not necessarily increased sufficiently along with the increased time spent in day care.

Gabriella Conti from the GUODLCCI project presented key results from a range of recent research studies. The studies have found, for example, that the biological development of the fetus varies by neighbourhood socioeconomic status in the UK. A new evaluation of the UK’s Sure Start Programme shows that these family centres decreased health problems in childhood, especially among families in poorer areas. Results on cohort differences in socio-emotional skills show that among the younger cohort (those born in 2000 compared to those born in 1970), boys experience more problems relating to externalizing skills and girls experience more problems relating to internalizing skills. The causes of this remain unclear, but researchers suspect this is due to structural changes: for example, mothers’ average age at birth and the number of unmarried mothers is increasing fast. These pieces of research underline the fact that it is important to invest in prevention and not only in remediation. Further, investments in child health and development should start already before birth.

Sakari Lemola from the PremLife project presented some results on the risk factors, protective factors and consequences of preterm birth. Lemola started by presenting the consequences of being born preterm: the studies conducted in the project show that those born very preterm (born before the 32nd gestational week) are less often highly educated, experience
more often unemployment, are more likely to live on social benefits and experience more often downward social mobility than those born preterm (between gestational weeks 32 and 36) or full term. Preterm children are also less likely to experience a romantic partnership, parenthood and sexual intercourse and they have more mental health problems. Next, Lemola presented some risk factors of preterm birth: low parental socio-economic status and education, parental smoking, mental health problems, multiple births and fertility treatment are associated with a higher risk of delivering a preterm baby. Lastly, Lemola presented some factors that can protect preterm children from adverse outcomes. These include preschool math training, positive parenting, physical activity in adolescence and improvement of self-control.

Helen Wareham from the SEED project presented some findings from the studies conducted in the project. The studies show that socio-economic factors like high levels of parental employment, education and income are key contributors to better child development. However, positive changes in these household socio-economic factors do not necessarily lead to equal and positive results – for example, the effects of family background have been found to vary between genders. Parent-child interactions and home learning environment are important when addressing household inequality. The results demonstrate that there is a need for equal access to early childhood education, and support and opportunities for parents. Further, training and staff development should be provided to those working in teaching professions and early care to improve support for children with sub-clinical conditions (for example, hearing loss that is not severe enough to be diagnosed).

The meeting ended with a lively discussion. First, the difficulties in recognizing and reaching the most vulnerable groups were discussed. For example, children born preterm should be recognized as a vulnerable group throughout their childhood. Further, engaging these groups in interventions is another challenge. Even the most effective intervention programme should be implemented with care to ensure its success. Second, researchers were concerned about the effects of COVID-19 on inequality in children’s development. Many countries have restricted parents from visiting their babies in neonatal intensive care units during the pandemic. This can have detrimental consequences, as parental involvement is crucial especially for vulnerable babies, such as those born preterm. Closing day care centers can affect children’s development and increase social inequalities related to it. Unequal access to online education between children from different socio-economic backgrounds can have a drastic effect on inequality in learning outcomes. Lastly, there was a general consensus about the need for better data. In particular, there is a lack of large-scale longitudinal data on childhood development that would be harmonized across European countries.

The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on inequality

Researchers from the HUCIAW -project have studied inequality and the potential long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on it.

HuCIAW investigates the role of human capital in shaping inequalities over the life course. The project aims to shed new light on the process of human capital formation during adolescence and adulthood, by examing three inter-related themes: sorting of young people across education pathways; interactions between different investments in human capital and the insurance role of human capital.

1. Covid-19 and the impacts of the pandemic on inequality
Read a report and watch a presentation (below)

2. How are mothers and fathers balancing work and family under lockdown?
Read a report and watch a presentation (below)

3. Learning during the lockdown: real-time data on children’s experiences during home learning
Read a report here.

Blundell Richard, Costa Dias Monica, Joyce Robert, Xu Xiaowei. 2020. COVID‐19 and Inequalities. Fiscal Studies. https://doi.org/10.1111/1475-5890.12232. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1475-5890.12232

Costa Dias Monica, Joyce Robert, Postel‐Vinay Fabien, Xu Xiaowei. 2020. The Challenges for Labour Market Policy during the COVID‐19 Pandemic. Fiscal Studies, 10.1111/1475-5890.12233. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1475-5890.12233