Social Sciences
School of Education & Social Sciences


Breakthrough: Researching Gendered Experiences of Education and Employment in the Yorkshire and Humberside

Breakthrough logoThe aim of the ‘Breakthrough' Research Project was to explore women's life histories and experiences specifically in relation to education and employment trajectories throughout the Yorkshire and Humber Region. The project ran from April 2006 until December 2007 and was funded by the European Social Fund, The Learning and Skills Council and Hull Women's Network.

Although it is generally acknowledged that women face barriers and challenges leading to inequalities at all levels in our society, the underlying causes of these are more difficult to agree upon. This research provides a qualitative focus on women's voices and experiences, contributing to the future planning, policy and delivery of services for women in the region. 

Through a combination of extensive interviews, focus group discussions and an extended questionnaire survey, we have generated a rich and unique dataset that draws on the knowledge, experience and histories of over 500 women from across generational, social, cultural and geographic backgrounds.  This is one of the largest studies of its kind in the region.

Along the way, a wide range of themes and issues were raised through women describing their educational and employment experiences. Hence, rather than a single report, the findings of this study have been produced as a series of five research reports and an executive summary which may be downloaded below:

  1. Gender, confidence and mental well-being
  2. Gender, education, training and aspiration
  3. Motherhood: choices and constraints
  4. Women's experiences of work: breaking through the barriers
  5. Transforming women's lives: women's voluntary and community services in the Yorkshire and Humber Region

Each of the reports in the ‘Breakthrough' series are led by women's voices and give testament, not only to the richness and diversity of women's lives, but also the commonalities of their experiences. 

For hardcopies of the reports, please contact:

Dr. Suzanne Clisby
Department of Social Sciences
University of Hull

Hull Womens' Network   European Union European Social Fund  Leading Learning and Skills logo
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