On 8th March, on International Women’s Day, LSI’s Member FLEX launched its latest publication Experts by Experience – Conducting Feminist Participatory Action Research with Workers in High-Risk Sectors. This publication outlines key learnings and recommendations from FLEX’s work using Feminist Participatory Action Research (FPAR) as part of a three-year research project that seeks to understand experiences and drivers of labour abuse and exploitation in three understudied low-paid sectors of the economy: cleaning, hospitality and app-based deliveries.
FPAR is a research approach that aims to empower those most affected by an issue to generate knowledge that can bring about social change. FLEX choses to adopt an FPAR approach because the organisation wanted to engage workers who are at high risk of experiencing labour abuse and exploitation in research and advocacy, and to understand what structural and intersecting factors create vulnerability and risk. Despite being experts by experience and the ones most affected by policy decisions, workers at risk are rarely involved in developing solutions to labour exploitation. FLEX believes policy should be shaped by those with lived experience, and participatory research approaches are a means to achieve this by working ‘with’, rather than ‘for’ or ‘on’, at-risk workers. FLEX believes that working together with workers to generate knowledge and advocate for change will lead to better, evidence-based policies and on-the-ground change.