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Promoting women's human rights: A qualitative analysis of midwives' perceptions about virginity control and hymen 'reconstruction'
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Nursing.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Nursing.
2015 (English)In: European journal of contraception & reproductive health care, ISSN 1362-5187, E-ISSN 1473-0782, Vol. 20, no 3, 181-192 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objectives To explore midwives' perceptions regarding virginity control and hymen 'reconstructions', and how these practices can be debated from a gender perspective. Methods An international group of 266 midwives answered an open-ended question in a Web survey. The great majority came from the Western world, among them, the majority were from Europe. Data were analysed using qualitative content analysis. Results Three themes emerged: misogynistic practices that cement the gender order, which revealed how the respondents viewed virginity control and hymen 'reconstructions'; raising public awareness and combatting practices that demean women, which were suggested as strategies by which to combat these practices; and promoting agency in women and providing culturally sensitive care, which were considered to improve health care encounters. Conclusions Virginity control and hymen 'reconstructions' are elements of patriarchy, whereby violence and control are employed to subordinate women. To counter these practices, macro and micro-level activities are needed to expand women's human rights in the private and the public spheres. Political activism, international debates, collaboration between sectors such as health care and law-makers may lead to increased gender equality. A women-centred approach whereby women are empowered with agency will make women more capable of combatting virginity control and hymen 'reconstruction'.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 20, no 3, 181-192 p.
Keyword [en]
Hymen reconstruction, Virginity, Qualitative study, Midwives, Human rights, Gender perspective
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-99841DOI: 10.3109/13625187.2014.977435ISI: 000355981900004PubMedID: 25472698OAI: diva2:788294
Available from: 2015-02-13 Created: 2015-02-13 Last updated: 2015-07-06Bibliographically approved

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Christianson, MonicaEriksson, Carola
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