Jubilee Women

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Motherhood in Western Europe

Insights from Western European Mothers

The changing face of motherhood — Western Europe

The accompanying reports combine a review of existing literature with an analysis of original quantitative data derived from a poll of 9,582 mothers from 12 countries in Western Europe, making it one of the largest studies of this kind ever conducted

Child Obesity and Health

An analysis of the latest available data from the Health Survey for England (HSE)

Child Obesity and Health — download the full report in pdf format

In this ‘National Childhood Obesity Week’, the SIRC report, Children, obesity and heath: Recent trends, holds up a true mirror, accurately reflecting the trend towards slimmer, healthier children. more

The Future of Freemasonry

An examination of the role of Freemasonry in the 21st century


This report is, as far as we know, an account of the first ever study that has been commissioned by Freemasons from a non-Masonic body. None of the SIRC members involved in the project are Freemasons, a fact that evoked surprise and welcome in equal measure from the Lodge members we met. more

The Changing Face of Motherhood

Insights from three generations of mothers


The report seeks to answer some specific questions about the changing face of motherhood and determine the extent to which modern ‘solutions’ to motherhood are more or less beneficial than the solutions of the past. more

Jubilee Women

Fiftysomething women – lifestyle and attitudes now and fifty years ago


It is not often, as a social scientist, that one has the pleasure of reporting on positive, encouraging aspects of human existence. Social scientists tend to focus mainly on the downside of life – dysfunction, deviance, drunkenness, disorder, delinquency, disease, divorce, drug-abuse. To redress the balance a bit, the Social Issues Research Centre (SIRC) was founded with the intention of studying positive aspects of human behaviour, lifestyles and social relations.

Even for SIRC, however, the findings of our Jubilee Women study came as something of a surprise. We were commissioned by HRT Aware to conduct research comparing the lifestyles of fiftysomething women now with those of women their age 50 years ago – with a particular focus on women's experiences of the menopause. An interesting project, and one that we approached with enthusiasm, but not really expecting to come up with any earth-shattering revelations.

Personally, I had never given much thought to the menopause, and if I thought about it at all, it was as something to be dreaded – an unpleasant experience in itself, leading to the even greater unpleasantness of official 'old age'. So I was somewhat taken aback when the findings of our focus groups and surveys came in, showing that, for most women, almost all aspects of life actually improve following the onset of the menopause. On question after question – whether we asked about careers, relationships, hobbies and interests, travel opportunities, energy levels, health and well-being, independence, and sex – the response was the same: for the majority of women, it gets better after the onset of the menopause.

The research reveals some interesting new worries about the disadvantages of living longer. But these could not overshadow the surprisingly positive findings: the lives and expectations of fiftysomething females are significantly better now than they were in the 1950s, and, on the whole, they improve with age. I had heard people say that 'life begins at 50', but as a scientist I needed evidence to believe such statements. Now I have some.

Kate Fox – Co-Director, Social Issues Research Centre – May 8 2002

Click here to download the complete report.