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Bates College

Publication Date

Fall 2008

Program Name

Argentina: Social Movements and Human Rights


The study of gender focuses on traditional social roles associated with the sexes and their subsequent forms and representations within society. Similar to topics such as class and race, gender can be used as a manner in which to investigate the constructs and confines of a culture. This study in particular chooses to examine the issue of adolescent pregnancy within Argentinean society from the perspective of gender norms. In particular, this project looks to examine the ways in which gender affects the experiences of sexual health for a number of pregnant adolescents and adolescent mothers who regularly visit a public health center in the town of Derqui outside of Buenos Aires. The project begins by theoretically considering the manner in which gender impacts sexuality and how these impacts might manipulate practices of sexual health such as prevention. This section continues by examining the ways in which sexual health influences the possibility of adolescent pregnancy. Other social factors such as education, class and poverty are also discussed as additional influences. Specific to Argentinean culture, the project places particular emphasis on the strong gender tradition of motherhood. That is to say, this project recognizes the equation between the role of mother and woman as one of the most important in Argentina. In the following section, this study uses the aforementioned theories and speculations to observe the ways in which gender, with respect to other societal factors, affects the experiences of sexual health for a group of women and adolescents at the public health center of Derqui. Primarily, this study offers a case profile of each participant which is then followed by an analysis of the observed ways in which gender impacted their experiences with sexual health. More specifically, the analysis focuses on education and prevention, traditional social roles, changes in life plans and pregnancy as a problem. This paper ultimately determines that gender, as defined in Argentinean culture, assigns the role of mother and care-taker to women. This priority and gender tradition manipulates preventative practices of sexual health which often lead to themes such as adolescent pregnancy. In terms of the women of Derqui, a very important and culturally developed goal in life is to be a mother. Advanced levels of education and work are not as emphasized as motherhood. Thus, the age in which a woman becomes pregnant is not technically considered a problem as that is her essential purpose. This project thus concludes that although the role of mother is a strong tradition within the culture, adolescents deserve to have more options in terms of education, career choices and goals. Should these youths have access to particular resources and encouragement, adolescent pregnancy would not be as prevalent in societies and towns such as Derqui. If these adolescents can be encouraged to accomplish more than just motherhood in their lives, they have the possibility to change oppressive gender constructs in society and advance the role of women in their culture.


Family, Life Course, and Society | Gender and Sexuality


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