You have to find a caring man, like your father! Gendering sickle cell and refashioning women's moral boundaries in Sierra Leone

Abstract

Most research on sickle cell disorders has tended to be gender-blind. This qualitative study undertaken in 2018, explores if and how sickle cell disorders become gendered in Sierra Leone through the analytical framework of a feminist ethics of care. It argues that women have to navigate moral blame when they have children with the condition. At the same time women refashion moral boundaries so that gendered norms around childhood and parenting for such children become suspended, in favour of creation of careful spaces. Parental fears of physical and sexual violence mean that gendered sexual norms are enforced for teenage boys as they are encouraged into early adulthood. In contrast, girls are kept in enforced ignorance about the consequences of sickle cell for reproduction and are encouraged to delay motherhood. This is because, as women relate, relationships and giving birth are fraught with embodied dangers and risks of violence.

Description

The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version.

Keywords

sickle cell, Sierra Leone, gender, care, women

Citation

Berghs, M., Dyson, S.M., Gabba, A., Nyandemo, S.E., Roberts, G. and Deen, G. (2020) “You have to find a caring man, like your father!” Gendering sickle cell and refashioning women's moral boundaries in Sierra Leone. Social Science and Medicine, 259, 113148

Rights

Research Institute

Institute for Allied Health Sciences Research