Promoting health, promoting women : The construction of female and professional identities in the discourse of community health workers.
Community health worker (CHW) programs are implemented in the third world and among racial minorities in the U.S. by public health professionals with the goal of improving people's access to basic health services.
There is a shared view that women's roles as mothers make them effective CHWs because most health practices are located within the realm of the family.
The objective of this paper is to inquire how and what concepts of woman are constructed and promoted in CHW programs.
Viewing CHW as a discourse, I examine literature on CHWs using a critical feminist perspective and insights from narrative and rhetorical analyses.
I argue that CHW positions women living in the third world and non-white Hispanic women in the U.S. as the « other » woman.
The natural attributes of this other woman include mother, care giver, oppressed, child-like, and victim of patriarchy, religion. poverty, and diseases.
These attributes are used to define categories of the female such as « the third world woman'and » Hispanic woman « . These categories, in turn, define two unnamed opposite categories : » the first world woman'and « the public health professional ».
I conclude that CHW is a colonizing discourse and that public health professionals and feminists need to practice reflexivity.
Mots-clés Pascal : Agent santé, Santé communautaire, Homme, Femelle, Sexe, Promotion santé, Féminisme, Pays en développement, Minorité, Ethnie, Etats Unis, Amérique du Nord, Amérique
Mots-clés Pascal anglais : Health worker, Community health, Human, Female, Sex, Health promotion, Feminism, Developing countries, Minority, Ethnic group, United States, North America, America
Notice produite par :
Inist-CNRS - Institut de l'Information Scientifique et Technique
Cote : 99-0046928
Code Inist : 002B30A05. Création : 31/05/1999.