Gemma Williams

Prior to joining Birmingham City University’s Centre for Social Care, Health & Related Research (CSCHaRR), Gemma worked within the public sector and Higher Education in various research/evaluation positions. Her research & evaluation areas included: the effectiveness of accredited offender groupwork programmes, the experiences of women and BME offenders under probation supervision, and the impact of Birmingham’s Preventing Violent Extremism Strategy. Gemma also has knowledge of policy and process around issues such as sponsorship, governance and integrity, with a specific focus and expertise in research ethics (including NHS ethics).

Gemma joined CSCHaRR initially as Research Assistant in October 2017, before moving to Research Fellow in January 2020. She is currently undertaking her PhD (part time), focusing on menstrual equity and chronic health.

Gemma’s main research areas are ‘period poverty’ and menstrual health. She has successfully led/co-lead a number of funded research projects within these areas, including:

  • Situational analysis of girls’ experiences of menstruation in the UK and policy and programmatic responses to this (Plan International UK, 2022)
  • ‘Periods in a Pandemic: how UK period poverty initiatives are mitigating Covid-19 related challenges’ (ESRC/UKRI, 2020-2022) 
  • ‘Let’s Talk.Period’ menstruation learning briefs (Plan International UK, 2019) 
  • ‘Inclusivity in Femtech: how women living with chronic health conditions use period tracking apps’ (Clue, 2019)

In recognition of her research and expertise around period poverty and menstrual health, Gemma was invited to be part of the Government Office for Equalities ‘Period Poverty Taskforce’ in 2019. The aim of the taskforce is to “tackle stigma and education around periods, alongside accessibility of period products.”

Gemma leads the ‘Gender Inclusivity in Research’ Special Interest Group, which is a is a cross-discipline, cross-BCU research group, aiming to create a more inclusive, intersectional and accessible research environment for all (Gender Inclusion in Research Special Interest Group - School of Health Sciences | Birmingham City University ( She also co-leads the HELS Faculty ‘Gender, Family & Health’ Research Cluster (Gender, Family and Health - School of Health Sciences | Birmingham City University (

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