Black women getting older in Britain: the experiences of Windrush Women

This paper explore the health experiences, health motivations, health achievements and health activism of Black Caribbean women of the Windrush generations in the UK.
It documents the migration of African-Caribbean women to the UK in the 1950s (the Windrush generation) and their employment in the newly established NHS. Employed in public health work as nurses, health visitors, midwives and community health workers, the majority of these women experienced racism and discrimination which impacted on their ability to progress into senior managers roles in the NHS. This paper explores the contribution of black women nurses in the UK to public health, both as activists for change and as organisers of change. Academic literature on these health workers has focused on their experiences of discrimination rather than the substantial contribution they have made to service development. The paper looks at organisations to advance the public’s health, in particular those developed by black women in areas such as mental health, reproductive health, sickle cell and thalassaemia disorders.
The paper then examines the experience of Black Caribbean women ageing in the UK. It examines increasing co-morbidities, and the social, economic and historical factors shaping the experiences of older Black women in Britain.