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Us Speaking about Women's Health: Aboriginal women's perceptions and experiences of health, well-being, identity, body and health services

By Bronwyn L. Fredericks

Abstract

When compared to other women in Australia Aboriginal women are considered the most socially and economically disadvantaged and have the poorest health status. Aboriginal women in Rockhampton, Central Queensland are not excluded from this lived reality. This research has explored Aboriginal women’s perceptions and experiences of health and health services in Rockhampton. Drawing on these experiences, and centring the voices of these women, the study reports on findings concerning cross-cultural issues, communication, policy, practice and service delivery. Importantly, the study has built new knowledge identifying the complex relationship between identity, body and well-being. \ud \ud In undertaking this study, I have developed a ‘talkin’ up’ research process in collaboration with other Aboriginal women. That is, by asking what Aboriginal women in Rockhampton wanted me as an Aboriginal woman researcher to explore and what type of process I would work through with Aboriginal women as the participants. The research has been informed and guided by these Aboriginal women and thus has witnessed the articulations of a more accurate portrayal of Aboriginal women’s perceptions and experiences of health services. I take the witnessing to be partly personally empowering, partly sharing and partly a taking of ownership of experience. As those women interviewed explained, our story here is told ‘by us’. In undertaking such a research process, I needed to ask what it means to be an Indigenous researcher and what is a good Indigenous research process? These are addressed at length within the thesis.\ud \ud This research process has not involved examining health services with regards to their service provision or their implementation of more empowering practices to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal women. This remains to be done. This research, has instead attempted to answer the question ‘how the relationship between health services and Aboriginal women can be more empowering from the viewpoints of Aboriginal women?’ The assumption underpinning this study is that empowering and re-empowering practices for Aboriginal women can lead to improved health outcomes. \ud \ud The study found :\ud \ud Aboriginal women had requirements of health services relating to cultural \ud comfort of health service environments \ud \ud Aboriginal women did not access one health provider for all their health \ud needs, they ‘shopped around’ to meet their general health, Women’s \ud Business and relationship and privacy requirements\ud \ud Aboriginal women’s health is impacted upon by stereotypes held of \ud Aboriginal women around skin colour and Aboriginality\ud \ud Aboriginal women have an understanding of what is required to improve the \ud interactions between health service providers and Aboriginal wome

Topics: 110000 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES, Aboriginal women, health, perceptions, experiences, identity, health services, well, being, empowerment, Rockhampton, research
Publisher: Central Queensland University
Year: 2003
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.qut.edu.au:13909

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