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The long-term Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Vulnerable Women in the UK SSS2

  • School: School of Social Sciences
  • Study mode(s): Full-time / Part-time
  • Starting: 2022
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / International student (non-EU) / Fully-funded


NTU's Fully-funded PhD Studentship Scheme 2022

Project ID: SSS2

This studentship seeks to identify the ways in which the pandemic and government-led responses to it are deepening pre-existing experiences of social, psychological, and economic inequalities, exclusion, and vulnerability.

As COVID-19 cases increased across the UK during what is being called an ‘exponential growth’ or a ‘second wave’, some sections of the population were affected more than others, thus widening social and economic divisions and inequalities that already exist within our society (United Nations, 2020; UN Women, 2020). The people who suffered and will continue to suffer the most are those who are already neglected, excluded, or even targeted by those in positions of power. According to some preliminary research, women are amongst the most affected by the pandemic, and may continue to feel its social, psychological and economic impact for years to come. As such, it is crucial to understand the additional needs of vulnerable women, particularly the marginalized like migrant and displaced women. These voices remain overlooked in the pandemic response, and their everyday lives and experiences of the difficulties and complications that may have been caused by government responses to the pandemic remain excluded.

At present, the pandemic responses have largely involved governments, with minimal community input. Yet, communities, including vulnerable and marginalized groups, can identify solutions. They can provide insight into stigma and structural barriers, and they are well placed to identify a range of needs. This can in turn help constructively propose innovative, tailored solutions that meet these particular needs. As the COVID-19 pandemic is novel and still poorly understood in terms of any of its medium and long-term consequences (12 months and beyond) on vulnerable and marginalized populations, it is vital that timely research is undertaken. By providing a better and more thorough understanding of how the COVID-19 pandemic might have socially, psychologically, and economically impacted women who are especially vulnerable, an action plan co-shaped by participants and research investigators may inform policy makers of ways to better address these issues in this particular context of the COVID-19 crisis. This, in turn, ensures women’s inclusion and equal representation in the COVID-19 local, national, and regional responses planning and decision-making.

This project is in potential collaboration with several organisations across the UK: Women for Women International; Muslim Women’s Network UK; IMKAAN; Women for Refugee Women; Southall Black Sisters; the Fawcett Society and Nottingham women’s Centre.

Research objectives:

  • To co-produce knowledge of the everyday lives and experiences of vulnerable women.
  • To gain an understanding of the long-term (12 months and beyond) social, psychological, and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic upon these women.
  • To ensure women’s inclusion and equal representation in the COVID-19 local, national, and regional responses, planning, and decision-making.
  • To propose a tailored action-plan that meets the particular needs of marginalized and displaced women.


This study employs a Participatory Action Research (PAR) approach informed by feminist theory and intersectionality that pays particular attention to layered forms of oppression, accounting for the interplay of experiences at the intersections of race, ethnicity, gender and class. PAR is an approach that emphasizes participation in action. Within PAR, inquiry and action evolve and address questions and issues that are significant for those who participate. PAR focuses on social change that challenges inequality targeted on the needs of a particular group, thus aims to reduce these inequities through involving the people who are most impacted by these inequalities (Pain, et al., 2011). The proposed methods of data collection for this study include qualitative methods, but mixed-methods are also welcomed.

School strategic research priority

This research supports the aims and objectives of the Critical Criminology and Social Justice research group and works from within it.

The group is one of 3 research hubs associated with the Centre for Crime, Offending, Prevention and Engagement (COPE).

Additionally, the focus of this research closely aligns with the Centre for the Study of Inequality, Culture and Difference, as it focuses on analysing the ways in which experience of difference produces inequality. It also closely aligns with the Centre for Behavioural Research Methods.

Entry qualifications

For the eligibility criteria, visit our studentship application page.

How to apply

For guidance and to make an application, please visit our studentship application page. The application deadline is Friday 14 January 2022.

Fees and funding

This is part of NTU's 2022 fully-funded PhD Studentship Scheme.

Guidance and support

Download our full applicant guidance notes for more information.

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