a heart bearing the trans flag sits next to a stethoscope

Midwifery, gender, and professional identities: exploring the professional identities of midwives in the context of gender diversity and inclusion

Eligibility: UK/International (including EU) graduates with the required entry requirements

Funding details: Bursary plus tuition fees (UK/International, including EU at international rates from Sept 21)

Duration: Full time - between three and three and a half years fixed term

Application deadline: 27 May 2023

Interview dates: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: September 2023

To find out more about the project, please contact Dr Sally Pezaro.


Coventry University (CU) is inviting applications from suitably qualified graduates for a fully funded PhD studentship exploring the professional identities of midwives and midwifery in the context of gender diversity and inclusion. The successful candidate will be hosted within the Centre for Healthcare Research from September 2023. The Centre for Healthcare Research is home to a vibrant research culture, where research is both transdisciplinary and multidisciplinary. We have integral links into clinical practice and access to midwifery stakeholders and potential sample groups, along with a focus on developing the research foundations to professional practice.

Project details

Midwifery and ‘Maternity’ care has been theorised from feminist perspectives, as ‘woman centred’ care, focusing on women’s choice and autonomy in relation to how and where they give birth. Yet trans men and non-binary people are a growing population within ‘maternity’ services experiencing pregnancy, and birth. This poses challenges for midwives, as the retention of professional identity is considered to be the cornerstone of professionalism in healthcare.

Findings from the supervisory teams’ preliminary work in this area indicate that the strong identification of midwifery as a women's profession being ‘with women’ appeared in some cases to be a barrier to the inclusivity of service users who do not identify as women, leading to a range of adverse outcomes (e.g., service users forced to choose between embracing their core human rights to gender identity, and their sexual and reproductive health). The aims of this project will be to:

  1. Explore relationships between the midwifery profession and gender identity
  2. Critically examine midwives' everyday rhetorical discourse in relation to midwifing childbearing trans men and non-binary people
  3. Develop an in depth understanding of midwives' professional identity in the context of midwifing those who do not identify as women.


Bursary, tuition fees and additional allowances.


The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills.

All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities. 

Candidate specification

  • A bachelor’s (honours) degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum classification of 2:1 and a minimum mark of 60% in the project element (or equivalent), or an equivalent award from an overseas institution.
  • the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within 3.5 years
  • An adequate proficiency in English must be demonstrated by applicants whose first language is not English. The general requirement is a minimum overall IELTS Academic score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each of the four sections, or the TOEFL iBT test with a minimum overall score of 95 with a minimum of 21 in each of the four sections.

 For further details please visit:  https://www.coventry.ac.uk/research/research-opportunities/research-students/making-an-application/research-entry-criteria/

Additional requirements

Applications from minority ethnic groups and gender and sexuality minority groups (LGBTQIA+) are particularly encouraged.

How to apply

To find out more about the project please contact Dr Sally Pezaro.

All applications require full supporting documentation, a covering letter, and an up-to 2000-word supporting statement is required showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project. 

Details of all available research opportunities at Coventry University can be found via


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