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Title: The broken triangle : women's gender based oppression, community development and the promotion of women's health and wellbeing in Ireland
Author: Doherty, Rosalie
ISNI:       0000 0001 2421 2890
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2019
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The starting point for this study were the challenges I experienced in my efforts to develop a feminist approach to the promotion of women's health in Ireland. This approach, informed by a social determinants model of health identifies gender as a determinant of women's health and wellbeing and as a socially constructed social injustice. I argue that, as a social justice issue, gender as a determinant of women's health and wellbeing should be addressed by those avowing a social justice agenda. The research questions are explored with community development practitioners in the Republic of Ireland. My position is based on personal experience of living as a woman in Ireland and working for almost a decade as a women's health officer in the Irish health services, principally in health promotion. The 'Broken triangle' of the title of this study refers to the damaging disconnect which I argue exists between the three constituent elements, women's gender based oppression, community development and the promotion of women's health and wellbeing. In theory the elements should fit neatly together as a joint framework for professional action. In reality there are a number of obstacles preventing the connection of the different elements which is necessary for the operationalising of the framework. One of the obstacles is the inclination of both health promotion and community development, despite the rhetoric, to maintain professional separateness. Building healthy communities is recognised universally as a goal of community development and efforts to achieve this goal are informed by such principles as social justice, empowerment and respect. Theory relating to the promotion of health extends the understanding of health to include wellbeing and mental and emotional health and recognises the impact and importance of social and cultural factors as determinants of health. I explore some of the reasons for this lack of connection between community development and health promotion. The principal barrier to fixing the triangle identified in my argument is the absence of a feminist analysis in community development and in health promotion. Feminism in professional practice, particularly in community development, is not an issue that has received much attention. Nearly forty years after Wilson's call to 'inject some feminism into community development' (Wilson, 1997) Emejulu and Bronstein (2011) conclude that feminist community development is still in a precarious position' (Emejulu and Bronstein, 2011, p.283). Using a feminist postcolonial analysis I explore the particular challenges presented by the patriarchal culture in Ireland, including a level of accommodation and denial by practitioners themselves.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral