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Social worker plans PhD study on childless Caribbean women

SOCIAL STUDY: Childless women aged over 45 are being asked to take part in a study

A BIRMINGHAM-born social worker is hoping to speak to a number of first generation older Caribbean who are childless, as part of academic research she is working on at Keele University.

Shona Willock, whose PhD study is social gerontology, wants to make contact with women over 45 to learn about their experiences of childlessness and how the courses of their lives have been influenced by this.

Shona, 30, who studied for her first degree at the University of Birmingham, said: “Research on ageing without children is now of growing interest and it is a subject I feel passionate about.

“Studies and literature available on women ageing without children tend to be from a white European perspective with research overwhelmingly neglecting experiences of women from diverse cultural backgrounds.

“Older Caribbean women’s personal stories or accounts of childlessness are likely to differ from white women without children. Consequently, the aim of my research is to examine how migration experiences and cultural identity shape – and have shaped – older Caribbean women’s pathways, meanings and experiences of childlessness.

“I will focus on three main areas: the women’s cultural identity in terms of their beliefs; their migration experiences, and the stigmatisation attached to childlessness.”

STUDIES: Shona Willock

Shona is keen to stress that the women’s identity can be protected and interviews would be held at a mutually agreeable time. She is aware that some information may be sensitive and reassures those considering taking part that this would be handled properly and discreetly.

She added: “There are no obvious or immediate benefits to taking part in this study – however, it will provide an opportunity for you to talk about your experiences as well as giving a voice to a little studied group.”

Those wishing to contact Shona can do so by emailing her at:

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