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Monday, October 16, 2017

Culture Clash: Shona (Zimbabwean) Migrant Women’s Experiences with Communicating about Sexual Health and Wellbeing across Cultures and Generations

As they settle in their new homes, newcomer migrants experience many cultural differences. For example, communication of health issues within family members- specifically sexual health, is an arena that differs from one country to another. Topics of sexual health is a taboo in some cultures and is often not discussed as freely within family members, especially between parents and children. This phenomenon is particularly prominent in developing countries.

The dynamics of the situation is different in developed countries, many of which promote a more open-dialogue approach when it comes to discussion of sexual health between parents and their children. Tinashe Dune and Virginia Mapedzahama’s article “Culture Clash: Shona (Zimbabwean) Migrant Women’s Experiences with Communicating about Sexual Health and Wellbeing across Cultures and Generations” address this problem. Specifically, it examines cases of 14 Shona (Zimbabwean) women living in Australia between ages 29-53.

Dune and Mapedzahama discovered that Shona women found it difficult to disclose information related to sexual health to their children. However, there was an effort of integrating policies of both worlds: the open Australian dialogue versus the more reserved attitude of their country of origin.  The study aims to find a comprising solution that can satisfy this problem, particularly in the cases of cross-cultural adolescents, who had been brought up in both environments (referred to as “1.5 generation”).

Based on their analysis, the authors’ findings conclude that better health policies need to be administered. Specifically, current policies need to be redesigned to cater to migrant parents. Although resources and guidelines exist to help parents, these resources do not suit the needs of migrant parents. The authors conclude on the note of making communication of sexual health more accessible and clear for not only the parents, but also the 1.5 generation. They note that current health policies in multicultural developed countries with a large migrant population (such as Australia) can be improved to suit the needs of cross-cultural youth.

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