This site uses cookies

Some of these cookies are essential, while others help us to improve your experience by providing insights into how the site is being used.

For more detailed information please check our Cookie notice

Necessary cookies

Necessary cookies enable core functionality. This website cannot function properly without these cookies.

Cookies that measure website use

If you provide permission, we will use Google Analytics to measure how you use the website so we can improve it based on our understanding of user needs. Google Analytics sets cookies that store anonymised information about how you got to the site, the pages you visit, how long you spend on each page and what you click on while you’re visiting the site.

The UK Data Service celebrates embracing equity on International Women’s Day 2023

On International Women’s Day, the UK Data Service is proud to raise awareness of some datasets in our collection that can help to further equality for women.

With traditionally taboo subjects about women being spoken about more openly, research in our collection can also be used to push forward positive change and inclusivity for women in the future.

These subjects include menstruation, the menopause, miscarriages and mental health related to motherhood.

Last year, the Women and Equalities Select Committee published its report on Menopause and the workplace, which recommended that the Government should do more to publicise menopausal symptoms and sources of support.

It also stated that more could be done to improve funding for treatments and suggested that the Government should introduce legal reforms to protect those undergoing the menopause in the workplace.

Additionally, local authorities across Wales have recognised the problem of period poverty and put schemes in place to allow menstruating people free access to period products.

Furthermore, there are growing calls from the public for the UK to follow the Spanish government’s example and introduce period leave for workers.

Below are a few recent highlights from our collection focused on the theme of women’s reproductive health, fertility and maternity.

Useful data to enhance equity for women

Periods in a Pandemic UK Data, 2020-2021

The project leads for this study outline how period poverty not only refers to period products being unaffordable, but it also refers to “the poverty of education, resources, rights and freedoms from stigma for girls and menstruators”.

It also examines how UK period poverty initiatives coped with the challenges of COVID-19 lockdown measures and the closure of services, as they tried to meet the needs of those experiencing period poverty across the UK.

Period Poverty: The Perceptions and Experiences of Impoverished Women Living an Inner-city Area of Northwest England, 2020

This study explored the menstrual experiences and perceptions of women living in deprived circumstances, alongside views of staff from supportive organisations.

The report argues that continuing austerity in the UK suggests menstruators are more vulnerable to ‘period poverty’ than in previous years, with the COVID-19 pandemic assumed to exacerbate the situation.

Cognitive, Subjective and Demographic Data From the ‘Addressing the Change in Memory’ Study, 2021

Following the ‘Change’ in Memory research project based at Northumbria University, which assessed the cognitive performance and subjective state of 132 women experiencing self-reported ‘brain fog’ as a consequence of the menopause, this investigation observed daily use of extracts of rosemary over a three-month period to improve cognitive impairments or negative subjective states.

National Child Development Study: Age 55, Sweep 9, 2013

The National Child Development Study (NCDS) is a continuing longitudinal study that seeks to follow the lives of all those living in Great Britain who were born in one particular week in 1958. The aim of the study is to improve understanding of the factors affecting human development over the whole lifespan.

The ninth sweep of NCDS was conducted in 2013-2014, when respondents were aged 55 years. Topics covered in NCDS9 included: lifelong learning; relationships, parenting and housing; employment and income; health and health behaviour; citizenship and values; housing costs and housing equity; and experiences of the menopause.

Death before birth: Understanding, informing and supporting the choices made by people who have experienced miscarriage, termination and stillbirth 2017

The project engages with a large-scale social issue: it is estimated that approximately 1 in 5 known pregnancies end in miscarriage, 1 in every 200 births is a stillbirth, and 2,000 terminations for reasons of foetal anomaly are performed in the UK each year.

The study seeks to replace the social and legal uncertainty surrounding the question of what to do with the remains of pregnancy by engaging stakeholders with a view to producing evidence-led policy and practice.

Mums Alone. The Relationship Between Loneliness, Social Isolation, Depression and Mother-Infant Bonding in the Perinatal Period: A Collaborative, Mixed Methods Study, 2000-2021

According to this study, about one in five women will experience depression in the perinatal period (the time between when a woman is pregnant and up to a year after she has given birth). This is a period of transition for women’s identities, social networks and relationships.

Growing evidence suggests that loneliness, isolation and lack of social support are risk factors for depression. However, little research has explored pathways between these and perinatal depression, or whether women themselves connect loneliness and isolation to their mental health.

This project analysed qualitative interviews with fourteen women diagnosed with perinatal depression and examined the relationship between social support and depression, using quantitative data from 525 women interviewed in pregnancy and postnatally.

Endometriosis: improving the well-being of couples

Endometriosis is a common, disabling gynaecological condition affecting approximately two million women in the UK. It may also affect fertility. There is no consensus on what causes endometriosis and there is no definitive cure. Despite the chronic and potentially disabling nature of endometriosis, there is relatively little work on what it means to live with this condition.

This study explores the impact of endometriosis on couples in particular, and aims to enhance the well-being of people living with endometriosis by providing an evidence base for improving couple support.

Please get in touch with us if you are an accredited researcher and have compiled data about women that you would like to deposit to our collection.

We are home to the largest collection of economic, social research and population data in the UK, which includes growing collections of datasets on health. We would like to provide further access to research into these areas. This work can often lead to the improvement of government policies and healthcare provision.

Contact our Collections Development team for more information.