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Reproductive Journeys: Indo-Caribbean Women Challenging Gendered Norms

Abstract
Little is known about the factors that influence people from the Caribbean to seek reproductive health services in the United States. In this paper, I focus on Indo-Caribbean women from Guyana and Trinidad who undertake reproductive journeys to New York. I ask: (1) What influences Indo-Caribbean women to begin their reproductive journeys to Richmond Hill, New York? (2) How do Indo-Caribbean women challenge gender norms during their reproductive journeys? (3) How does women’s class inform their decision making in challenging gendered norms? After conducting 30 in-depth interviews with Indo-Caribbean women from Guyana and Trinidad who seek reproductive health services in New York, I find that Indo-Caribbean women’s reproductive journeys are influenced by sexism experienced within households, communities, and doctors’ offices, lack of proper care, legal restrictions, and unaffordable treatment. Another driver is support from women networks. Social networks helped women challenge gendered norms around motherhood that are present within communities in home countries. As women receive support from their networks, they challenge gender norms varied by their class. Women from middle-income households are more likely to challenge gender norms outwardly. Obtaining reproductive health care abroad becomes a journey with multidimensional experiences of gendered negotiations and constraints.
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