Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Leah's Blog #1

A potential focus of my policy brief is on creating safer/better neighborhoods and communities for those with lower socioeconomic status – with a specific focus on it’s effect on women of color and their children.  I began doing my research by examining how the environment in North Carolina affects women’s health.  I realized that a woman’s environment consists of more than just the earth we live on and the air we breath.  It was revealed to me that people living in poorer neighborhoods are at higher risk for poor health and chronic diseases.  
Once I start digging even deeper, I found that women of color in lower socioeconomic status are more likely to live in these poorer neighborhoods. These neighborhoods lack the same resources, like availability to healthy food, less crowded living areas, and more outdoor space for exercising, that neighborhoods of higher socioeconomic status have.  Specifically, in North Carolina, it was found that the quality of certain neighborhoods in Durham had a direct effect on the babies being delivered by women in these areas.  Another study in Wake County determined that women living in disadvantaged neighborhoods were at higher risk of having preterm births.
    There’s no way the North Carolinian government can prevent people from being living in lower socioeconomic environments.  What they do have control over, however, is the construction and maintenance of these lower income neighborhoods and communities.  North Carolina has a duty to provide better resources for people living in these areas, especially when the health of women and their children are at risk.

    As a black woman, I’m constantly reminded of my intersectional place in society.  I’m constantly aware of the differences in my experiences compared to others, solely based on my identity.  My interests in human rights include the interests of women of color.  Recognizing and understanding intersectional identities and the experiences of the women who face multiple oppressions is key in eradicating injustices against all women.  That’s why I’m constantly taking an intersectional approach to my research.  My intersectional identity has been key in developing my research focus.

-Leah Ford


  1. Great post Leah. You have a good grasp of your project. Environment has a major role in women health safety, education, and activism locally and globally.Enjoy your new discoveries! You can find more at this link:

  2. There is an investigation of military women and spouses having miscarriages while living in military housing in Fayetteville. Something about subpar construction and dangerous materials. Who builds these structures for the government and military and why are they not being regulated?

  3. Nice post. The Triangle's EPA here releases some reports on NC neighborhoods and cities that may be helpful to your research. You've struck a fine balance between researching both women and children in urban development as well as environmental health. Good work!

  4. Leah - I am so interested in learning more about your topic. I have been reading a lot about the "tiny house" phenomenon which has grown here in our area of North Carolina - Do you have an opinion about whether it is a potentially useful model for addressing the housing/neighborhood needs of women? I know they are building them as part of Wellness at Penny Lane - as well as in downtown Raleigh These are for addressing the housing/community needs of different populations, but do you see the model as a useful tool? Really looking forward to your thoughts and recommendations......