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Women Health. 2006;43(4):7-25.

Advocacy as a means to an end: assisting refugee women to take control of their reproductive health needs.

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  • 1School of Psychology, Magill Campus, University of South Australia, Magill, Adelaide, Australia.


Negotiating reproductive rights is particularly complex for resettling migrant women from refugee backgrounds. In our ongoing work with women who have fled from countries in Africa and the Middle East, and have resettled in Australia and New Zealand, subtleties of discrimination and perceptions of human rights discriminations were revealed through the complex interplay between research and advocacy. Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) has therefore been critical in assisting women to identify their needs and negotiate acceptable solutions with health services. This paper presents qualitative and quantitative findings of research with women from refugee backgrounds in Australia (n = 255) and New Zealand (n = 64). The research questions were a combination of community-driven and researcher initiated issues and the projects developed through a continuous iterative process involving feedback from women in the community. We highlight the essential role of advocacy in CBPR and how that can enhance research quality. We argue for the justification of this approach as not only valid and credible but essential in research with these and other communities.

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