Helen Barcham Awarded Vice-Chancellor’s Gender Equality Fund

Congratulations to our PhD candidate, Helen Barcham, who has been awarded a competitive Western Sydney University Vice-Chancellor’s Gender Equality Fund to support her women’s health project, Women Doing Well.

Women Doing Well is an interdisciplinary research project that seeks to expand understandings of women’s health, wellness, and the body.

Helen Barcham

‘Women’s health and wellbeing is serious business today. The current political apparatus increasingly tells us that we’re responsible for our own wellbeing and welldoing, and conveniently, the billion-dollar wellness industry promises to support us through this. From "wellness" gurus, to HR policies on "work/life balance" to a leaking psychological discourse in everyday life, cultural prescriptions around wellness are encroaching more deeply into our lives – in fact, they’re becoming the dominant cultural code to which we understand ourselves and the world around us,' Helen says.

'While these popular wellness narratives are couched in a language of women’s empowerment, more-often-than-not, their one-size-fits-all frameworks moralise us into conforming to very limited notions of "healthy bodies". Paradoxically, these limited wellness narratives offer very little for advancing individual and collective wellness.’

Through collaborations with the University’s School of Medicine, and the Translational Health Research Institute, Women Doing Well will offer pedagogical resources for women that practically address how to do safe and effective self-care.

Women Doing Well is essentially a community project. It is focused on women’s capacity-building which is integral not only for building healthy and resilient selfhood, but more broadly, for supporting women’s active participation in public life.’

The Vice-Chancellor’s Gender Equality Fund supports University staff in undertaking research and initiatives that address gender and equity within the University, and beyond.

Helen is a PhD researcher at the Institute for Culture and Society, with an interest in women’s health and wellbeing, subjectivity, and political theory. She is also Assistant Editor of ‘Feminist Encounters: A Journal of Critical Studies in Culture and Politics’. 

Posted: 8 February 2019.