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Respectability and rights. Sexual and reproductive health and rights of Sri Lankan women formerly involved in prostitution
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå Centre for Gender Studies (UCGS). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3083-106x
2019 (English)In: Contemporary South Asia, ISSN 0958-4935, E-ISSN 1469-364XArticle in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Women in prostitution are often disrespected and subject to health risks. The aim of this study is to explore how women formerly engaged in prostitution in Sri Lanka position themselves in relation to gendered norms of respectability, and to discuss the possible implications for their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with fifteen women formerly engaged in prostitution. Discourse analysis was used to identify and describe interpretative repertoires and four repertoires were identified: Victimhood, Resistance, Responsibility, and Independence. The first three were drawn upon to construct their identities in line with norms of female respectability, as the women emphasised being victims of unfortunate situations, resisting sexual disrespectability and taking responsibility for their children and others. The last repertoire deviated from the respectability norm as it conveyed a picture of the women as independent, strong and courageous subjects, characteristics more in line with male respectability in Sri Lanka. Despite marginalised and oppressive circumstances, the women drew on interpretative repertoires to enhance access to respect, dignity and resources. However, their vulnerability to violence, SRHR risks and virtual absence of rights leave them with little access to resources that could enable a healthier and better life.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD , 2019.
Keywords [en]
Respectability, violence, agency, prostitution, sexual and reproductive health and rights
National Category
Gender Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-164458DOI: 10.1080/09584935.2019.1667301ISI: 000488798800001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-164458DiVA, id: diva2:1364451
Available from: 2019-10-22 Created: 2019-10-22 Last updated: 2019-10-22

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Öhman, Ann
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