BAME women wanted for history project

Are you a black, Asian or minority ethnic woman born between 1940 and 1970 or who migrated to Britain during that time? If so, researchers at the University of Essex want to talk to you for an exciting oral history project exploring women’s health in post-war Britain

The researchers from the Body, Self and Family project, are studying women’s experiences of physical and emotional health in times of sweeping social change to help girls today, and they need you to tell your story.

Volunteers taking part in the project will be asked how they learnt about their health, what knowledge was passed on through families, and how their health was affected by class, race and sexuality.

To take part or find out more email the team:

Interviews will be conducted remotely, either by phone or video technology. All interviews collected through the project will be archived in the British Library as a national resource for future generations and will contribute to a forthcoming book.

Dr Kate Mahoney, from Essex’s Department of History, explained:

“We know relatively little about the everyday health experiences of women in post-war Britain but what we do know is that the pattern of their lives changed almost beyond recognition and they expected to lead very different lives to those of their mothers and grandmothers.

“Marriage rates declined and divorce rates increased, the introduction of the Pill meant women had fewer children, and more women entered the workplace. LGBTQ+ people fought for rights and became much more visible in society. Migration to the UK increased, and so did the British black, Asian and minority ethnic population. It was a time of sweeping social change and we want to know what these changes meant for women’s everyday experiences of physical and emotional health.”

Dr Daisy Payling added:

“We believe that understanding the past can help people to change their futures. These interviews inform our work with schools, voluntary organisations and community groups and will help us produce materials and activities that can help girls and women today understand their health better.”

The project Body, Self and Family: Women’s Psychological, Emotional and Bodily Health in Britain, c. 1960-1990 is funded by the Wellcome Trust and is led by Professor Tracey Loughran. It aims to create a history of gender, body and self by exploring how race, class and sexuality contributed to women’s health experiences.

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