- Launch of national online survey to gather vital data on women’s menstrual health, contraception, pregnancy planning, and menopause
- Responses will help shape future policy on women’s health, enhance care, and improve wellbeing
- Survey helps to ensure the health and care system prioritises women’s voices
Women across England are being encouraged to help shape future reproductive health policy by sharing their experiences of a range of issues as the government launches a new landmark survey.
The Race Equality Foundation is pleased to be working with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the Department of Health and Social, and other charities to help promote this important survey and ensure the health experiences of Black, Asian and minority ethnic women are captured.
As part of the governement’s commitment in the Women’s Health Strategy, the Women’s Reproductive Health Survey will seek women’s views across England on issues including periods, contraception, fertility, pregnancy and the menopause.
Findings from the survey will then be used to better understand women’s reproductive health experiences over time. The vital information gathered about the lives and experiences of women will inform current and future government decision-making and health policy.
There are currently disparities in women’s health across the country, and far too many cases where women’s voices are not being heard. Along with the strategy, this new survey will play a key part in changing this.
Tracey Bignall, Senior Policy and Practice Officer, Race Equality Foundation, said:
“We’re encouraging all women in our networks to take part in this survey. It’s crucial that we hear about the health experiences of Black, Asian and minority ethnic women.
“Many women have highlighted to us a number of challenges, from accessible information, to racism and a lack of trust, to the need for more awareness amongst health services on specific health conditions that disproportionately affect Black, Asian and ethnic minority communities, and how to treat people affected.
“Ethnicity has a huge influence on women’s health experiences and outcomes – being able to capture women’s voices and track issues is key to resolving these matters.”
Dr Rebecca French, Associate Professor of Sexual and Reproductive Health Research at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said:
“For most women, it can be nearly 40 years from their first period to menopause. Throughout this time, women should be able to make informed decisions about their own reproductive health and wellbeing, such as if and when to get pregnant and where to access appropriate support and treatment.
“Women have previously described difficulties accessing reproductive health services, for example, to get contraceptive supplies, to access fertility treatment or to obtain an appointment with a gynaecologist. Often health services are not ‘joined up’, leading to multiple visits and appointment delays.
“We know that poor reproductive health not only has a negative effect on health in general but can also impact women’s mental health, relationships and finances. Further research is needed to better understand inequalities across England so that women and people described as female at birth are able to make the choices they need for their own reproductive health and wellbeing.
“The Women’s Reproductive Health Survey provides an opportunity to better understand what support is needed and how these issues can best be addressed.”
The survey is open to all woman in England aged 16-55 years and will run for six weeks from Thursday 7 September 2023.
It is being delivered by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care.
Questions women are being asked to answer include:
- how much pain they experience during their periods;
- how they prefer to access contraceptive services; and
- how satisfied they were with any support they received for menopausal symptoms.
Notes to editors