Is knowing that you have rights enough? : exploring marginalised women's awareness, understanding and practice of the right to health

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

This research study explores women's awareness, understanding and practice of their rights to health. The target group in the case study is women. These women live in townships and informal settlements in Cape Town and are part of a community-based network called The Women's Circle (TWC). The purpose of this study ,is to advance understandings or bring out contradictions in current theoretical debates in relation to health and human rights. Primarily the study aims: II To generate knowledge which could assist in strengthening the TWC women's capacities to invoke their rights to health, access health and healthcare and improve the quality of their lives; * To identify whether the different theories of adult education can inform the work of the University of Cape Town (UCT) Health and Human Rights Unit, which is currently developing learning programmes around the right to health for civil society organisations; and * To gather empirical evidence to assist TWC in strengthening partnerships with the state and lobbying government around ensuring access to health rights and services. This study is inter-disciplinary and links adult education to health and human rights. Therefore the literature review draws on work of authors within the following domains: Nefdt (2003) in social services; Sen (1990) in development; London (2004); Ngwenya (2000) and Mann, Gruskin, Grodin and Annas (1999) in health and human rights. Furthermore, to analyse the women's learning the theoretical frarnework draws on literature in the field of adult education which include the Situated Learning theorists (Lave and Wenger, 1991), Phenomenological (Fenwick, 2001), (Mezirow, 1994) and Radical Feminist Pedagogy Ismail (2006); Walters (1998) and Weiler (1991) perspectives which provide theories that have direct relevance to this study in terms of the site of practice and its conceptions of learning and teaching.

Includes bibliographical references (leaves 92-98).