Brazilian Black women's NGOs and their struggles in the area of sexual and reproductive health : experiences
This dissertation develops a social analysis the Brazilian Black women's non-governmental organizations (NGOs) by focusing on their political activism around issues of Black women's sexual and reproductive health. My research responds to two major questions: (1) what has been the effectiveness of the political work of Black Women's NGOs in the areas of sexual and reproductive health in Brazil, particularly with respect to reducing the effects of racial, gender, and class discrimination; (2) what are the contributions that these NGO's have made to the formation of Black women's agency and collective organizing in their communities? The finding of this study is that claims and struggles for political autonomy and citizenship rights waged by Black women's NGOs around women's sexual and reproductive health (and health in general) have played a central role both in transforming Black women's life conditions and in promoting their agency and collective organizing in the country. In the 1990s and 2000s there has been an increase in the number of Black women's activists affiliated to NGOs involved in local and national debates with policymakers and healthcare administrators about health disparities and health services. Furthermore, because of the activism of these NGOs, the federal, state and district governments have been forced to endorse and implement specific policies and programs that directly benefit the Black population generally, and Black women, in particular. This dissertation analyzes issues such as feminist movement, aspects of sexual and reproductive health and rights, violence, vulnerability, and Black women's experiences in relation to race, gender, class, and sexuality as major systems of oppression. It focuses on the histories of four Black women's organizations in the Brazilian cities of Rio de Janeiro and Porto Alegre: Criola, Grupo de Mulheres Felipa de Sousa, ACMUN (Cultural Association of Black Women) and Maria Mulher. In addition, this dissertation contributes to the documentation of Black women's contemporary history concerning political organizing in Brazil. Ultimately, I hope this dissertation will be beneficial to scholars and activists in Brazil and elsewhere focusing their political work on the eradication of racial and gender oppression, and winder issues of social justice.