This is a an ethnographic case study investigating the experiences of women in an Anglican community on the role of the Anglican Church in addressing sexual and reproductive health challenges at community level.
Religion was perceived as taboo in the discussions of theory and practices of development many decades ago. However, today religion is seen to play a crucial role in development with religious faith groups and religious leaders as agents of change within societies. Braam and Hessini (2004) also recognized the crucial role of religion in development, specifically in challenging the rights of women and the power they have over their bodies. This challenging role is very important because amongst various religions, different perceptions exist regarding sexual behavior and sexual reproductive rights. For example, Christianity has strong values on virginity and purity till marriage and within the Islamic religion, reproductive choices are placed in the hands of the men. This often than not results in gender inequalities where women are left with very much limited choices and decision-making power over their sexual and reproductive health.
Thus, I believe that the Christian Tradition has resources to uplift and protect sexual and reproductive health of women and their rights and the church has the ability to create change within society in relation to this topic. Thus, through a qualitative case study, I aim to investigate the role of the Anglican Church in addressing women's sexual reproductive health and rights in Cape Town- South Africa.
Master of Population Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa), Spring 2013.