Sexual Health Group Outline
Women of color have been marginalized when it comes to their sexual and reproductive health both
throughout history and into the modern day, due to factors such as slavery, systematic oppression, and
intersectionality. According to the Guttmacher Institute, “Women of color have long experienced stark
health disparities in areas like cervical and breast cancer, unintended pregnancy, and pregnancy related
complications. The root causes stem from a long history of racism, discrimination, including lack of
access to high quality, affordable health insurance and care” (For Women of Color). Lack of adequate
sexual and reproductive education as well as lack of resources that target women of color both contribute
to the marginalized access to reproductive and sexual health resources that they have access to. Another
large factor contributing to this issue comes from the dark history of the United States that included
slavery and segregation, which after decades continues to plague our health institutions with racial bias.
Women of color often fear that this institutionalized racism still exists within the healthcare system,
further preventing them from receiving the care they need.
According to findings by the Sisterhood collective, “Approximately 77 percent of women with
HIV/AIDS are women of color. These women tend to be young, poor residents of disenfranchised urban
communities” (The Sistering Collective). This leads to our point that at the intersection of race and gender
women of color face marginalized access to sexual and reproductive health resources. This is especially
true for women who live in lower income areas, where the intersection of class further divides these
women from proper health care services.
Thesis: Women of color have faced marginalized access to sexual and reproductive health services due to
a history of slavery, segregation, and institutionalized racism that continues to plague society today.
The purpose of our essay is to inform the reader about how the intersectionality of race and gender can
prevent women of color from receiving the sexual and reproductive health they need. Slavery,
segregation, and systematic racism that continues to plague society have oppressed women of color from
receiving the same care as white women.
Intersectionality, violence against women, and systemic racism are the three main themes that are present
throughout all of our articles.
Henderson (2014), Crenshaw (1999), and Barnes & Collins (2014) all support and highlight the
importance of intersectionality, which is the ways in which our multiple identities such as race, class,
gender, sexuality, all come together to create our present identity through the overlapping. These authors
discuss how our intersections overlap and can bring forth privilege or discrimination. Crenshaw discusses
how women of color are often faced with discrimination by their overlapping identities for being women
while also of color. Violence against women is a theme that is supported by Roberts (2004), Nelson
(2010) because these authors write about the injustice done unto women in regards to their health, be it
reproductive or sexual health. Roberts and Nelson both write about horrific experiences that were endured
by women of color such as involuntary sterilization, childbirth complications, etc.. Our last theme is
systemic racism, and how it plays a large role in the injustice put onto bodies of color. Systemic racism is
the practice of the institutions that we frequent, implementing racist ways into their systems such as
segregation, less public school funding for low income neighborhoods, etc.. McCluney (2015)
acknowledges that youth of color are not given access to proper health education but especially in regards
to sexual health education and argues that young girls of color are aware of the resources that they are
denied. Cecchetto, Monteiro, Mora, and Vargas (2010), also agree with the fact of youth of color are not
educated in regards to their own sexual identity, reproductive or sexual health. Cecchetto et all. (2010)
discuss the ways in which AIDS/STD’S/STI’S are topics of discussion that are not discussed to the youth,
therefore their communities have high rates of STD’s because of the lack of information and education
that these children are not aware exists.
The information used to gather our points together were scholarly based articles. Each article was found
and selected from us in order to seek information regarding sexual health amongst women of color.
i. Most of the research was done individually or in class during the alloted time to work on our final
projects with our group. Our group discussed main points and exchanged ideas during the time provided.
The articles that were presented helped guide to construct strong points and arguments. The authors
observed their analysis through data and statistics.
There is no ethical concerns for this topic. The project is talking about how the women of color have been
marginalised in the aspect of sexual health. Ethical issue are not necessarily discussed. Those scholar
articles applied are focusing on three main points of the factors of how and why the women of color have
been marginalised in term of sexual health.
Point 1: STD’s
When it comes to STDs, STIs, HIV, and AIDs intersectionality must be considered. These
sexaully transmitted infections and disesases should be looked at through a critical lens because if we
want to eradicate these illnesses and help those that are victims we must first figure out who is still
affected and why. Statistics have shown us that people of color are more often infected by these illness, a
reason for this is systematic oppression. Governmental, institutional, and historical neglect towards
minorities has been a problem for decades. This can be seen in today’s minority population of people
infected with said diseases or infections because they are not granted the same privileges as dominant
groups, such as adequate wages, equal opportunities, affordable health care, or even access to groceries
stores. The problem is more dense than most people think or care to imagine and this shows in numbers
when we look at who purchases treatments like PrEP to fight against HIV. People of color often cannot
afford these treatments and therefor contract viruses like HIV. Health, when it comes to prevention and
personal safety should not be a privilege, but a human right.
Point 2: Reproductive & sexual health
In the United States, women of color have almost always been a target for oppression. Oppression
is done unto women of color in several different ways, but one of the most detrimental ways is the lack of
education and help in regards to sexual and reproductive health.
According to “Women of Color and the Struggle for Reproductive Justice” (2017) “Racially-motivated
control of reproduction also manifested in stringent immigration policies, mandatory sterilization, and
anti-miscegenation laws prohibiting marriage between white people and people of color,” thus further
proving that women of color are seen as better off sterilized than educated. Communities of color are hurt
by these mandated sterilization practices, because most of the time these forced sterilizations happen, the
women have no idea what is being done to them. Reproductive and sexual health education access is
denied to women of color through different forms, such as there not being enough doctors of color to
relate to their patients, women in rural areas not having access to a health facility until miles away, and
young girls in low income neighborhoods that attend schools with low budgets whereby sex education is
not able to be funded. Women of color often are discriminated against when making an attempt to seek
medical help. For example in California, November 2018, Dr. Paul Ryan from Pulse Cardiology, San
Bernadino a Latinx woman was denied her appointment by asking her doctor if he spoke Spanish. He
abruptly ended the appointment and shamed her for “being in this country, and not knowing his
language,” further exemplifying that the medical field highly caters to people who are not minorities,
which only solidifies the fear within women of color in regards to the healthcare system (Heller, 2018).
Point 3: Lack of resources
The lack of resources has a large impact in the theme of intersectionality. Although gender has always
been a problematic issue especially amongst women, imagine being a woman and a woman of color. It is
clear that lack of resources is a huge issue in poverty communities because they are limited certain
resources with health institutions being one of them. Women of color ar being denied to health services
whether it’s because of their race, class, gender, or lack of income. That being said inequality has a strong
impact when it comes to health services. This impacts marginalized groups because of their race, class,
gender, or income. Findings from the sisterhood collective conclude our theories that racial inequality
play a large part in the health of women of color, with higher rates of sexual and reproductive health
issues being reported in disenfranchised lower income neighborhoods. The women from these
neighborhoods fear seeking medical attention due to the institutionalized racism that has made its way
into the healthcare system, as well as not having the financial resources for the often costly treatments. It
makes it hard for women to reach potential or needed health services when they are unable to afford it or
are being denied to be seen no matter the circumstance. Dominant groups tend to receive more of an
advantage when it comes to health services such as reproductive health resources, diseases, or even basic
health care services.
When we look at specific victims and statics we can see the direct correlation to systematic oppression
and neglect. When people of color experience severe treatment or neglect they are being targeted.
This means that our own societies are being target from within. Our own country is poisoning itself and
hiding behind a facade of fake sympathy. We must help minorities and bring their adversity to light
because it is often hidden away and ignored by people in power. When we heal society as a whole we can
prevent wrongful deaths, infections, and stigmas.
This helps prevent the spread of STDs, STIs, HIV, and AIDS. This also helps to recognize the attacks
against people of color whether it’s carelessness, or intentional avoidance and concern. We are aiming to
acknowledge and educate others on the social injustice that minorities face.
These topic contribute to theory by taking another, often forgotten, look at intersectionality. Yes we are
discussing men, women, gay, bi, straight, people of color, but we are also discussing their social class and
their health as a form of identity.
Historical context: Through slavery, segregation, and the black vs white binary, we can see that
marginalized groups, more specifically people of color, have been neglected in terms of education which
causes these groups to fall through the cracks. According to the Guttmacher Institute, “Women of color
have long experienced stark health disparities in areas like cervical and breast cancer, unintended
pregnancy, and pregnancy related complications. The root causes stem from a long history of racism,
discrimination, including lack of access to high quality, affordable health insurance and care” (For
Women of Color). Lack of adequate sexual and reproductive education as well as lack of resources that
target women of color both contribute to the marginalized access to reproductive and sexual health
resources that they have access to. Another large factor contributing to this issue comes from the dark
history of the United States that included slavery and segregation, which after decades continues to plague
our health institutions with racial bias.
Theoretical framework: Intersectionality, Theories in the Flesh
Topic: How marginalized groups of people are affected by lack of education and resources in terms of
Thesis: This essay will analyze the ways in which marginalized groups of people are given less access to
education and resources, by first looking at the lack of resources, secondly by critiquing the mistreatment
of colored women in regards to reproductive and sexual health, and finally studying how the lack of
education manifests itself through higher STD/HIV rates among these marginalized groups.
Justification: This research essay is important to exemplify why lack of education is a crime against
humanity because lack of education towards marginalized groups allows for the perpetuation in the
imbalance of power in place.
Lack of resources/ accessibility
Reproductive and sexual health
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