Black Women’s Health in Europe

Douglas, Jenny (2017). Black Women’s Health in Europe. In: 2nd Annual Black Feminism, Womanism and the Politics of Women of Colour in Europe, 7 Oct 2017, Amsterdam.



The aim of this paper is to explore the ways in which mobility and migration has affected Black women’s health. Inequalities in health in Black women are enduring. Research on inequalities in health highlights the relatively poor health of Black women due to their demographic, social, education and economic profiles (Nazroo et al. 2007). In the UK, Black women experience a higher incidence of diabetes, hypertension and stroke (Lane et al, 2005; Collins and Johnson, 2008). In addition, Black Caribbean women with breast cancer have a significantly worse survival rate (Bowen, 2008; Jack et al, 2009). In relation to mental health, the research emphasis has been on Black Caribbean men with high rates of serious mental illness, while Black women have been seemingly ignored (Edge, 2013). The reproductive and sexual health of Black women is also of concern.
In the UK, policy and health service developments focusing on the health of Black and Minority ethnic health issues have failed to account for the specificity of Black Caribbean women’s health and wellbeing. The inequalities that Black women face in education, employment, health and social care because of their racialised, gendered and classed experience are detrimental to their health and have a major impact on their life chances (Douglas and Watson, 2013).

This paper will examine the impact of migration on the health of Black women in the UK and calls for more research on the health of Black women in Europe, particularly examining the health experiences and health status of migrants and refugees. While health is central to the racialised, gendered and classed experience of Black women, too often it is left off the black feminist agenda. This paper aims to address that lack.

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