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Book aims to help diversify midwifery workforce

22 Mar 2021

'With Women' is a book about midwives from Black and Asian communities, and will be sent to every school across Greater Manchester, in a bid to promote midwifery as a career choice

Midwifery book

The project has been led by Christine Furber from the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work and Catherine Millan, Student Recruitment and Widening Participation Officer Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic. It has been developed in collaboration with the NHS to help diversify the midwifery workforce.

Midwives are vital to provide safe, effective and high-quality personalised care that women and families need during pregnancy and after birth. In Greater Manchester, almost 50% of women who birth are from outside the UK and many have needs that are culturally specific. Evidence indicates that midwives who have similar heritage to women they care for can improve satisfaction in care, and birth outcomes. Noting that low numbers of student midwives are of Black and Asian heritage, this project involves promoting midwifery as a career to young people of colour.

Using oral histories, student midwives from our University and young people from Loreto High School explored the midwifery careers of nine midwives of Black and Asian heritage from Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.

These stories about the journey that local midwives have taken to become a midwife include their background, education and current roles. Presented in a beautifully illustrated short book, these stories will be shared with young people nationally to encourage them to consider careers in the midwifery profession. The book is supported by Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, Chief Midwifery Officer for England who has written the foreword.

The book has been jointly produced between The University of Manchester, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, Loreto High School and The Royal College of Midwives.

Catherine Millan, Student Recruitment and Widening Participation Officer Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic, said: "Working on the With Women book project has been a career highlight. Hearing the powerful and moving stories from midwives of colour has enabled the young people on the project to really see what they can be. We were determined to finish the book despite being in a global pandemic, and I want to thank everyone who has been involved for their continued dedication and commitment over the last year.

"This book has been made by us, and for us, and I hope that the future generation of young people of colour read this book and be inspired to pursue midwifery as a career."