SDG10 Research Support

Dr. Kate Choi, Department of Sociology
Research Supporting SDG #10: Reduced Inequalities

Since beginning her work in the field of sociology, Dr. Kate Choi has been intrigued by how social inequalities are perpetrated within and across families. She believes that gaining insights about the social processes generating inequalities across families can help reduce inequalities in future generations.  She is particularly interested in (1) research barriers to the formation of interracial unions and (2) family formation behavior and wellbeing of immigrant families.

Focus of Research
Choi is working on a project that examines fertility and contraceptive behavior of immigrant populations. The research is part of a body of work that suggests that the contraceptive needs of immigrant women are often unmet because of reduced accessibility to healthcare. The findings will help identify vulnerable women and better support their needs for reproductive and contraception care.

In tandem, Choi is also examining immigration and settlement patterns. Within five years, over seventy percent of immigrants that settled originally outside of Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal will move into these cities. Choi is reviewing the “push” and “pull” factors generating the clustering of immigrants in these three cities. For example, she is examining whether immigrants move into cities to improve their circumstances or if they are being pushed out of less diverse, suburban neighborhoods.

To the question about who/what can effectuate social change, Choi responds: “It is not the case that one segment of society can create change. Instead, what is needed is a partnership of different individuals and organizations that all work together to increase quality of life.”

She further states that the role of academics is to produce high-quality information and identify glaring inequalities. Policymakers must embrace these research findings and design effective policy interventions with optimal outcomes. At the same time, the public and NGOs can support policymakers by making changes at the grassroots level.

In the classroom, Choi says students can have an impact on inequalities by being open-minded and to not to let personal agendas influence their ability to learn facts.

“We should all operate under the same set of facts, and based on that, we should formulate our opinions”, says Choi.

This rings especially true for students that want to pursue studies or a career in research, in order to produce findings that would best help vulnerable populations.

SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities
At the University level, Choi believes that Western should continue to support SDG 10 related goals by enhancing and communicating research to the public and policymakers, and further strengthen our relationship with the media and our global audience.

Choi emphasizes: “Social science research –or any other research for that matter- cannot exist in a vacuum. Broadly, an overarching goal of academic research should be to improve society, irrespective of the field."

Article by Sunny Tian, Sustainability Coordinator, Western University

Kate Choi in front of a grey backgroundDr. Kate H. Choi is a social stratification scholar whose work focuses on highlighting mechanisms that perpetuate social inequalities in North America, Australia, and Latin America.  She is a quantitative researcher relying on diverse sources of data to examine inequality within and across families, socioeconomic wellbeing of minority and immigrant populations, and health inequalities by race.  She hopes that her research can shed light on persistent inequalities and health vulnerable population by informing policies aimed at helping them.