Vulnerability as lived experience: Marginalised women and girls in the UK

Kate Brown, Katie Ellis , Kate Smith

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter explores the concept of ‘vulnerability’ in relation to marginalised groups of women and girls in the UK by focusing on composite findings from co-authors’ empirical research. This chapter draws on qualitative research with women and girls who are defined as being vulnerable, as well as women seeking asylum and refugees. By highlighting the importance of vulnerability as a concept in contemporary UK welfare and disciplinary systems, respective findings consider how contemporary interventions may work to increase the vulnerability of those who are already disadvantaged in society. This chapter argues that structural conditions effect the ways in which women and girls respond in difficult circumstances. These responses include different strategies and resistances, which enable them to ‘get by’ as best they can in difficult circumstances. Although such strategies are often viewed by those in difficulty as being key to their survival, within a social policy environment, these same behaviours are perceived as being challenging, and often in turn trigger unwanted intervention. We conclude that in order to be effective, social policy must take account of the lived realities of ‘vulnerable’ women and girls to form inclusive policy to support them to manage, or change, their circumstances.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWomen, Vulnerabilities and Welfare Service Systems
EditorsMarjo Kuronen, Elina Virokannas, Ulla Salovaara
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9780429276910, 9781000203929
ISBN (Print)9780367228026
Publication statusPublished - 9 Oct 2020

Publication series

NameRoutledge Advances in Social Work


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