Claiming Citizenship: A Study of How Adolescent Muslim Girls and Young Women Negotiate Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) Rights in Urban India

Project Details

Layman's description

Addressing inequities in sexual and reproductive health and rights is of critical importance in the era of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that calls for “leaving no one behind”. In India, where significant strides have been made in reducing maternal mortality and access to contraceptive methods, the gains have not accrued equally across social and demographic groups, and geographies. National-level indicators show vast differences across and between (cities in) Indian states (and a rural urban divide), but provide little insight into the pathways by which these differences (and potentially inequities) were produced. Furthermore, while social accountability in health (such as community monitoring of services, scorecards) are seen as effective interventions to improve SRHR outcomes, little attention has been paid to understanding the complex mechanisms by which these interventions act, and the ways in which these are influenced by the local urban context especially in the case of marginalized communities.

Using the case of adolescent Muslim girls and young women in two urban poor settlements in India, I will explore how urban inequities affect outcomes in SRHR for different vulnerable groups. More specifically, I would like to understand better 1) the pathways through which inequities in SRHR outcomes between groups in the urban context are produced and 2) how and whether social accountability interventions can substantively transform these pathways to bring about improved SRHR outcomes.

The hypothesis is that social and political exclusion significantly affects SRH service delivery outcomes (mediated through harmful social norms and lack of health services in the communities where they reside) and that social accountability interventions, through the process of empowerment and improvement of state-society relationships can bring about positive changes in these.

I will explore the pathways by which social and political exclusion on the basis of religion (and gender) deepen inequities (in SRHR outcomes) and jeopardizes sexual and reproductive health and rights of adolescent Muslim girls and young women residing in urban poor settlements in two cities in India. I will also explore the role of two community-based feminist organizations in strengthening the demand for SRH rights in this constrained context.

The study will contribute not only to the formulation of policy recommendations applicable at the level of urban neighbourhoods, cities and states in India, but also challenge and refine theories on intersecting drivers of social exclusion and marginalisation.
Effective start/end date1/01/22 → …

IWETO expertise domain

  • B680-public-health