Benoit, Cecilia



Phone number: (250) 853-3132
Department: Sociology

Research description:

- Social equity and social justice
- Sex work and social rights
- Midwifery and maternity care
- Substance use
- Stigma and resiliency
- Street-involved youth
- Aboriginal women's health
- Intersectionality

Expertise Profile
Dr. Cecilia Benoit conducts the kind of research that pulls vulnerable and hidden populations from the shadows of social stigma in British Columbia and across Canada.

The sociologist has worked on projects including the legalization of midwives in Canada since 1993, the health of Aboriginal girls and women in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, and a HerWay Home program for pregnant women using substances in Victoria - an initiative that provides this group with better access to clinical services and advocates affordable housing.

Dr. Benoit also leads a nation-wide project examining situations where violence arises in the sex industry and the well-being of sex workers in general.

So far, the study has empowered male, female and transgender sex workers to develop resilience against stigma, and the ability to maintain a positive sense of mental, emotional and physical well-being during times of difficulty and transition.

Dr. Benoit's work on the sex industry is challenging parts of the Criminal Code of Canada and dispelling some of the negative stereotypes the public has about sex workers.

"It's the attitudes and actions of the majority who hold power that has to change," she says. "People are becoming unhealthy because of the views society imposes on them."

Dr. Benoit's direct experience with studying the lives of sex workers shapes the way she approaches her class topics. She brings a more complex and realistic understanding of sex workers who are more diverse and have greater agency than current stereotypes portray.

Related Links
Dr. Benoit's Faces of UVic Research video:

Health related research:

Apart from research focused on the occupation of midwifery and the organization of maternity care in Canada and internationally, Dr. Benoit is involved in a variety of projects that employ mixed methodologies to investigate the health of different vulnerable groups, including Aboriginal women in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, young people confronting health stigmas linked to obesity and asthma, street-involved youth in transition to adulthood, workers in lower-prestige service occupations, adults in the sex industry, and pregnant and early parenting women dealing with addiction and other challenges.

International research:

Dr. Benoit is involved in several international and developmental research projects, including the topical areas:

Countries lived or worked in:

Dr. Benoit has lived/worked in Sweden and Finland.

Community projects

Dr. Benoit is currently leading two CIHR-funded projects that adopt an intersectionality lens: "Team Grant on contexts of vulnerabilities, resiliencies and care among people in the sex industry" and "Interventions to promote health and healthy equity for pregnant and early parenting women facing substance use and other challenges."

UVic Speakers bureau

Cecilia Benoit takes part in the UVic Speakers Bureau.
More information about the Speakers Bureau can be found here.

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