Gendered boomtown impacts: a social service perspective on experiences of women in resource extraction communities
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The natural resource industry is dynamic, unpredictable, and unconventional. Past research on this industry has examined ‘boomtown impacts’ such has challenges to community cohesion, infrastructure issues, and crime, but few have examined the gendered impacts of the resource industry. Therefore, this thesis examines the gendered impacts associated with resource boomtowns by exploring how the industry impacts women’s lives, what women are impacted, and what resources need to be put in place for women in boomtowns. In exploring gendered impacts, this thesis draws on Connell’s and Messerschmidt’s theorizing on gender, masculinities and emphasized femininity and in-depth interviews with 10 social service workers. The findings indicate that economic dependence, family impacts, and lack of affordable housing are the largest challenges facing women in boomtown communities. This thesis also discusses recommendations offered by social service professionals to improve the lives of women in resource extraction communities and urges future research in this area.