Rural Women and Body Weight

How are structural inequalities associated with social class, rurality and gender impacting rural women in the context of body weight and health

Degree type


Closing date

29 October 2021



Citizenship requirement

Domestic/International Onshore

About the research project

Poor health outcomes and high rates of socioeconomic disadvantage are a long-term Tasmanian policy challenge. Of particular concern is growing rates of overweight and obesity among socioeconomically disadvantaged groups.  Tasmania has the highest rate of adults who are overweight or obese (70.9%), compared with all other Australian states and territories (ABS 2018). Rural women in Tasmanian have high rates of socioeconomic disadvantage and overweight/obesity. This project will investigate how rural women make sense of their own practices and experiences related to physical activity and nutrition. The project will also investigate how structural inequalities associated with social class, rurality and gender contribute to high rates of overweight and obesity. Lay people are skilled interpreters and translators of their experiences and can provide valuable place-based accounts of their practices. The successful applicant will work with their supervisors to refine the scope of the project, make decisions about study design and select an appropriate overarching sociological framework. This PhD project will develop and extend the chosen theoretical framework, build new sociological knowledge around rurality, gender and bodyweight and produce original empirical findings with the potential to guide future policies and interventions aimed at reducing rates of overweight and obesity in Tasmania and beyond.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Emily Hansen


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,597 per annum (2021 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


The project is open to domestic (Australian and New Zealand) and international applicants who are already in Australia (onshore) at the time of submitting their application.

Due to current Australian COVID-19 travel restrictions the University cannot accept applications from international applicants who are currently overseas.

Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • First Class Honours degree in Sociology

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select the project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Dr Emily Hansen, if you have any questions about the project; and
  3. Click here to submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including contact details of two referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email.

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