Jess Berentson-Shaw

Dr Jess Berentson-Shaw is a researcher and public communicator. She consults on effective evidence-based policy, and helps people and organisations engage the power of good storytelling to change minds.

Parents
Dec 11, 2017

Please, no more bloody tinned tomatoes!

This morning the tireless women's refuge campaigner Jackie Clark published a Facebook post explaining why her organisation doesn't want donations of tinned tomatoes.

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Society
Oct 30, 2017

Labour promises a bold approach on poverty. But will it be bold enough?

Jacinda Ardern has signalled her focus by adopting a portfolio tackling child poverty. But will the coalition government have the mettle to make the differences needed, asks Jess Berentson-Shaw

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Parents
Oct 19, 2017

The science and art of baby sleep in the first six months

Sleep. We all need it. We all want it. Spinoff Parents scientist Dr Jess Berentson-Shaw explains the science behind infant sleep, and what works and what doesn't.

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Society
Oct 10, 2017

Forget Garner’s undies: What works when it comes to immigration policy?

Duncan Garner's recent column on immigration and K-Mart underpants has had the unfortunate – though highly predictable – effect of reigniting New Zealand's often-poisonous 'immigration debate'. But there's a better way, writes Jess Berentson-Shaw.

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Parents
Sep 26, 2017

Dr Jess meets Dr Ben: A chat about youth mental health and how parents can help

Dr Jess Berentson-Shaw chats with Dr Ben Sedley, clinical psychologist, father of three, and author of Stuff That Sucks, a book about teen mental health.

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Society
Sep 21, 2017

You’re not selfish if you want a tax cut – but there’s a better way

People who are ‘just managing’ in New Zealand are not selfish if they support policies that will help their family most in the short term. But there is a better, more positive way to ease their pain, writes Jess Berentson-Shaw.

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Society
Aug 29, 2017

The new evidence that proves, beyond a doubt, the NZ gender pay gap is real

Researchers at Motu Institute have found that women who bring exactly the same value to a private firm as the men who work there are paid on average 16% less. Jess Berentson-Shaw considers what that means – and how the stubborn pay gap can be fixed.

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Politics
Aug 23, 2017

Please Jacinda, don’t take the Blackadder approach to tax reform

Jacinda Ardern has outsourced Labour's decision on a capital gains tax to a working group. But why? It's time we stopped treating tax working groups as the magical solution to problems in the tax system, writes Jess Berentson-Shaw.

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Society
Aug 16, 2017

Are there any good choices when you live on a low income?

Last week ActionStation and the Morgan Foundation launched Liz and Sam’s story. Since then, the pick a path game based on the lives of New Zealand families living on low incomes has been played close to 16,000 times. Its co-creator Dr Jess Berentson-Shaw explains the two years of research underpinning the game.

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Parents
Aug 13, 2017

National’s plan to send children to boot camps is their most anti-evidence policy yet

National today announced a policy package aimed at preventing youth crime, including a plan to send 'youth offenders' to boot camps. The Morgan Foundation head researcher and Spinoff Parents science expert Dr Jess Berentson-Shaw explains why this is a terrible idea.

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Society
Aug 3, 2017

Liz and Sam’s Story: A pick-a-path game about NZ families on low incomes

Today ActionStation and the Morgan Foundation launched Liz and Sam’s Story, a pick-a-path game based on the lives of New Zealand families living on low incomes. In the first of a two-part series, the Morgan Foundation's Dr Jess Berentson-Shaw discusses the in-depth research behind the game.

Read on.

Parents
Jul 14, 2017

Thanks ACT, for revealing the truth about low-income parents

David Seymour and the ACT Party believe that only parents who are wealthy should be able to have children. Many, many parents, including Dr Jess Berentson-Shaw, disagree.

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Society
Jul 9, 2017

Suicide, poverty and the UBI

The NZ Herald's recent special feature on teen suicide in Northland was a reminder, should anyone need it, of the tragic cost of suicide in New Zealand. It's time we all started treating suicide as the national emergency it is, writes Dr Jess Berentson-Shaw.

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Parents
Jul 4, 2017

Why parents don’t need to be scared about baby formula

An Australian 'study' is whipping up fears over the safety of baby formula. But are reports on what it means actually backed up by facts? The Spinoff Parents' science writer Dr Jess Berentson-Shaw explains why this latest scare story is bad science, plain and simple.

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Politics
Jun 2, 2017

Reading the tea leaves: What the budget tells us about how the government thinks

Money may not be important in the big scheme of things, but where money gets put, and how much, tells us volumes about what the government thinks it is doing right. And our government thinks things are going pretty well, writes the Morgan Foundation's Dr Jess Berentson-Shaw.

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Parents
May 29, 2017

How to talk about vaccination without losing your shit

Of all of the parenting topics that turn into all-out war online – breast vs bottle, dummy-gate, circumcision or uncut grapes – the worst of all is surely vaccination. Here the Spinoff Parents' science writer Dr Jess Berentson-Shaw discusses the importance of talking calmly about vaccination.

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Parents
May 26, 2017

Immunisation in New Zealand: the freedom to grow up healthy

The Spinoff Parents' science writer Dr Jess Berentson-Shaw looks at the current state of immunisation in our country – and explains why our poorest children are the ones least likely to experience the freedom of a healthy childhood.

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Politics
May 24, 2017

Welcome to the Ministry for Does It Fucking Work: a budget dream sequence

Budget 2017: I had a dream of an evidence-based budget for a thriving New Zealand, writes Jess Berentson-Shaw.

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Parents
May 3, 2017

Boobs, Bottles and Bullshit: A deep dive into the science of breastfeeding

What does the evidence really say about breast-feeding and bottle feeding? And how should we apply that evidence to our own parenting? Dr Jess is on the case.

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Society
Apr 19, 2017

Believe it or not, Bill English’s government might just be feminist after all

Yesterday's news of a major settlement for aged care workers is a big win in the fight for pay equity in New Zealand. Now it's time to close the loopholes that could prevent women with children benefitting from the deal, says Dr Jess Berentson-Shaw.

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Parents
Mar 14, 2017

Yes, we’re going there – should you vaccinate your child?

It's always a good time to talk about vaccination, but with the topic back in the news thanks to Dr Lance O'Sullivan's protest at a screening of an anti-vaxx movie, we thought it was an ideal opportunity to share again Dr Jess Bernentson-Shaw's deep dive into the issue from March this year. We'll be publishing part two and three of Dr Jess's series on vaccination over the coming days.

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Parents
Mar 8, 2017

A message for the mothers, the aunties and the grannies – and all the women: We value your work

Because it doesn't get said enough, Dr Jess Berentson-Shaw has a message of thanks for all the overworked and underappreciated women of the world.

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Society
Mar 2, 2017

Pennies from Heaven: Why we need to give all parents cash

The amazing truth about reducing child poverty is that we already know what works: regular, no strings attached cash payments. Dr Jess Berentson-Shaw explains the research backing up her call for the government to reinstate the Family Benefit.

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Parents
Feb 9, 2017

Treat Her Right: How failing to fix the gender pay gap is hurting us all

New Zealand has had legally-mandated equal pay for women since 1972 but, as the new Treat Her Right campaign makes clear, we still have far to go to reach true pay equality. Dr Jess Berentson-Shaw explains why the economic imbalance between genders is about a lot more than just equal pay for equal work.

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Science
Feb 1, 2017

Don’t put Gwyneth’s balls in your vagina: How to avoid celebrity quackery and pseudoscience

Looking to 'cleanse' your body, balance your hormones and improve your sex life? Gwyneth Paltrow has just the thing for you: jade 'eggs' for your hoo-ha, available for the low, low price of NZ$90 through her website Goop. The eggs are just the latest in a long tradition of celebrity quackery, says scientist Dr Jess Berentson-Shaw, who shares some tips for avoiding being taken for a ride.

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Science
Dec 8, 2016

How to take the fight to bad science? By singing good science’s praises

In the face of everything from anecdote posing as evidence to bias peddlers to outright quackery, the best riposte is to champion good science. But how? Dr Jessica Berentson-Shaw offers seven tips

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