If you are a woman born on 12 June in 1951, QUT developmental psychology Professor Linda Gilmore would like to hear from you.
What started as the idea for a book – to gather a small group of women all born on her birthdate and write about their contrasting life experiences – quickly turned into a unique research study tracking the lives of women all born on exactly the same day.
“The idea sprang from a chance meeting with a woman in Cambodia in 2008 who was the same age as me,” Professor Gilmore said.
“My search for women with my birthdate began in earnest in 2010 when we were 59 years of age, and now there are more than 150 women from 36 countries in the group.
“On the basis of world population data, my most conservative estimate is that around 65,000 women were born on 12 June 1951.
“Some data suggest the total is as high as 100,000. Using various statistics about life expectancy and death rates, I estimate that between 40,000 and 70,000 women born on 12 June 1951 are likely still to be alive today.”
Professor Gilmore said it was initially very difficult to find the women but then she hit upon paid Facebook advertising and her group, many of whose members call themselves birthday twins, grew.
So far she has collected research data about areas such as satisfaction with life and attitudes towards ageing, and she will continue to study these areas over time as the women age.
Some of the members of the group now communicate with each other on a closed Facebook group.
“Our birthday is always a very exciting day when we are busy messaging to wish each other a happy birthday.
“Some members are very active and are keen to meet others. In the past 3 years, we have organised small meetings in England, Italy, Canada, the Netherlands, Spain and the United States.
“These Facebook contacts and meetings have introduced a new aspect to my research project – that of friendship and social connectedness, which are important contributors to mental health and wellbeing.
“On the Facebook page, women report that they love being part of a very unique and interesting group of people.
“They find it fascinating to learn about others’ lives and experiences and they notice that there are so many similarities in their lives regardless of geography or culture.”
Professor Gilmore sees this research project as a “lifetime adventure that is enormously satisfying both professionally and personally”.
“The challenge as the project progresses is to locate women in less developed countries so that the research truly reflects the lives of women all around the world who were born on 12 June 1951.”
For more information or to contact Dr Gilmore go to: lindagilmore.com.au
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