COVID-19 Study: Lived experiences of the pandemic among Black and minority ethnic women

The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare deep-seated health, economic and social inequalities in British society, particularly for women from Black and minority ethnic communities. We are proud to launch this new study, which builds a richer picture of the lives of minority ethnic women in the UK during the pandemic, particularly women of African background. The study examines several areas of their lived experiences, ranging from finances and childcare to their wellbeing and their relationships with members of their household.

The research was carried out between May and December 2020, and involved two stages. The first was an online survey with 116 women from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds in the UK. The second involved 20 peer-to-peer semi-structured interviews, the majority of which were with women of African background living in London and Bristol.

The results of our research show how multi-faceted the impact of the pandemic has been on the women in our study. Mental ill-health, financial struggles, access to healthcare, strained family relationships at home and cases of domestic abuse are all areas that evince urgent government action and investigation.

We make several policy recommendations to government and local authorities that would improve the circumstances for Black and minority ethnic women in the UK. These include urgent financial and employment support, accessible digitised healthcare services, digital access for home-schooling, funding for culturally appropriate mental health services and proper investment in culturally sensitive domestic abuse services.

Report authors: Amy Abdelshahid and Khadra Habane