2015 Winner: Resistance of Mayan Women Against Obstetric Violence

Project Information
Resistance of Mayan Women Against Obstetric Violence
Social Sciences
Latin American and Latino Studies Senior Thesis
Mayan women in Mexico are often victims of obstetric violence in the Yucatan Peninsula. Obstetric violence is defined as violence women experience by health officials or midwives during birth. This research will look at five different communities within the states of Yucatan, Campeche, and Quintana Roo in Mexico and compare and contrast activism efforts against obstetric violence among Mayan women. Throughout the Yucatan peninsula, Mayan women are organizing to create unions for midwives, workshops on reproductive rights and health care, and demonstrations that advocate for the end of obstetric violence in their communities. This research characterizes the variability in the experiences women face when giving birth, the expressions of activism women utilized to counter obstetric violence, and the obstacles they encountered while organizing. Through semi-structured interviews and participant observation, this research found that women’s organizing changed based on structural barriers, access to capital, and the relationship activists have with healthcare institutions. This research can serve to understand the obstacles Mayan women face and provide strategies for organizations, governments, and institutions to further support and empower women’s organizing strategies. This research contributes to a relative lack or research about the health care oppression Mayan women face and their mobilization in response. Such research is important for informing practical solutions to end obstetric violence in these communities.
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  • Marina Gonzalez Flores (Ten)