Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version

Spring 2012

Thesis Advisor

Claudia Valeggia


In a globalized world of seven billion people, the persistence of disparities in accessibility to maternal health services between developed and developing nations is astonishing. Poor health often places women in socially marginalized positions. Recognizing this compels us to emphasize the importance of examining the relationship between women’s rights and women’s health. Contextualizing the case of obstetric fistula in sub-Saharan Africa within the fields of global health and medical anthropology, this paper demonstrates that health is a woman’s right, and that the human rights approach can be used as the primary tool for female empowerment. To address maternal health issues, I suggest a middle path between top down and grassroots approaches. In the final section, I will share some reflections on the background research I conducted in Ethiopia during the summer of 2011.

Included in

Anthropology Commons



Date Posted: 08 June 2016


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