- International development
Saskia has an MPhil in Latin American Studies from the University of Oxford and an MSc in Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).
Her research interests include violence (sexual and gender-based, symbolic and structural), gender and development, and sexual and reproductive rights, with a particular focus on Latin America. Alongside her PhD studies, she teaches on various subjects in development studies and political economy at King's, SOAS, and University College London (UCL).
At King's she also works on the SSPP Decolonising the Curriculum Workstream. She previously worked as a Research Fellow at Queen Mary University of London where she participated in the ARPEC Project (Anaemia Research Peruvian Cohort Project).
She is also a founding member of the Editorial Collective of Feminist Perspectives, an online publication run in collaboration with the King's Gender Studies Network, and co-organised the 2023 Abortion at the Borderlines Conference.
Thesis Title: '(Re)producing Teenage Mothers: Adolescent Pregnancy and Multi-sided Violence in Ayacucho, Peru'
Around 1 in 11 adolescent girls and young women between the ages of 15-19 were pregnant or already mothers in Peru in 2021 (ENDES, 2022). Teenage pregnancy is associated with negative health outcomes for both the mother and child, including higher than average maternal mortality rates, infant mortality rates, low birth-weight-for-age and higher chances of pregnancy complications. Aside from health concerns, adolescent mothers face economic and social marginalisation, and as such, adolescent pregnancy is linked both with the reproduction of intergenerational poverty and the feminisation of poverty.
In recent years, teen fertility has become a recognised policy ‘concern’ in Peru, with specific campaigns targeting the reduction of adolescent pregnancy. Peruvian policy towards adolescent pregnancy, however, locates the blame and hence the responsibility for prevention of further teenage pregnancy within the individual adolescent girl, assuming that it is her choices alone that determines adolescent fertility, ignoring the structural causes of the phenomenon, of which violence, in its multiple forms, plays a large part.
This project uses a multi-sided framework of violence to analyse two main research questions; how does violence contribute to the production and reproduction of adolescent pregnancy in Peru, and also how does violence shape the experiences of teenage pregnancy and adolescent motherhood? It also analyses a third and final research question; what are the policy implications of the answers for the first two research questions, and how does currently policy (fail to) tackle these issues?
The thesis builds on and applies existing literature on gender-based violence, and structural and symbolic violence to build its own framework (or ‘architecture’) of multi-sided violence with which to understand the phenomenon of adolescent pregnancy.
Using Ayacucho – an Andean city that was at the epicentre of the internal conflict in the 1980s and 1990s, and still grapples with the legacies of that violence today – as a case study, this thesis puts the perspectives and lived experiences of adolescent mothers at the front and centre of its analysis, using a mix of different qualitative research methods.
Primary Supervisor: Jelke Boesten
Secondary Supervision: Mayssoun Sukarieh