APHA 139th Annual Meeting and Exposition
29 October–2 November 2011
"Exploring changing intergenerational social values surrounding sexuality among rural and indigenous Oaxacan women"
Tahilin Sanchez Karver, Katherine S. Wilson, Xipatl Contreras, Sandra Garcia, and Karen A. McDonnell
To explore how social values about sexual behavior and attitudes have changed across younger and older generations of women residing in rural and/or indigenous communities of Oaxaca, Mexico. To further investigate women's self-perception of their female and/or indigenous identities, and how changing traditional gender roles in their communities affects the choices they make in relation to their sexuality.
We conducted in-depth interviews with a purposeful sample of 10 young women (aged 18–25) and 7 older women (aged 34–55) from 11 distinct rural and/or indigenous communities throughout the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. We used a piloted semi-structured interview guide, which examined several broad constructs: gender roles and relationships between men and women, virginity, sexual education, family planning and contraception, knowledge of STIs and HIV/AIDs, and opinions about abortion.
Gender-related cultural norms were found to govern how women express and experience their sexuality. Values surrounding virginity and premarital sex continue to be an important determinant of a woman's worth. The lack of knowledge and insufficient information, most often provided by maternal figures, create a barrier for these women when first learning about puberty and sex. Independent of their generation, social programs, health clinics, and education were perceived as helping women to increase their ability to speak about topics related to sexuality and personal experiences.
The findings from the project recommend increasing culturally and age-appropriate sexual education initiatives that will enable women to express their sexuality, and programs geared toward women's/girls' empowerment to diverge from traditional gender norms.
- Administer health education strategies, interventions, and programs
- Advocacy for health and health education
- Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
- Diversity and culture
- Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
- Public health or related research
- To assess how social values about sexual behaviors and attitudes have changed among younger and older generations of women residing in rural and/or indigenous communities of Oaxaca, Mexico.
- To identify the sexual health needs of women residing in rural and/or indigenous communities of Oaxaca, Mexico.
- To further investigate women’s self-perception of their female and/or indigenous identities, and how changing traditional gender roles in their communities affects the choices they make in relation to their sexuality.
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