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  • 1.
    Arousell, J.
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), International Maternal and Reproductive Health and Migration.
    Carlbom, A.
    Malmö Univ, Fac Hlth & Soc, Malmö, Sweden.
    Larsson, Elin
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), International Maternal and Reproductive Health and Migration.
    Johnsdotter, S.
    Malmö Univ, Fac Hlth & Soc, Malmö, Sweden.
    Essén, Birgitta
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), International Maternal and Reproductive Health and Migration.
    Unintended consequences of gender equality promotion in Swedish contraceptive counselling2018In: European Journal of Public Health, ISSN 1101-1262, E-ISSN 1464-360X, Vol. 28, no Supplement: 1, p. 105-105Article in journal (Other academic)
  • 2.
    Arousell, Jonna
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health.
    Sacred Ideals: Diversity and Equality in Swedish Reproductive Healthcare2019Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    To promote diversity (mångfald) and equality (jämlikhet) is a key task for a wide range of welfare institutions in Sweden. The two terms appeal to several aspects simultaneously: inclusiveness, moral goodness, awareness and willingness to facilitate a positive social change. Diversity and equality have become, as I suggest in this thesis, two sacred ideals in Swedish society today. In the context of reproductive healthcare, various forms of diversity and equality measures are thought of as solutions to, for instance, inequalities between immigrant groups and others, structural discrimination of minority groups, and difficulties faced by the Swedish healthcare system in caring for patients’ diverse needs and preferences in clinical encounters. In this thesis, diversity and equality are analysed as two important governing mechanisms in the organisation of healthcare in multicultural Sweden. The aim was to explore how these ideals contribute to shape the provision of reproductive healthcare, and its consequences.

    Paper I shows that targeted interventions towards immigrant women in contraceptive counselling risk singling out some women from standard routes of care because they are categorised as “immigrants” or “Muslims”. Paper II shows that demands upon healthcare providers to accommodate Muslim patients’ presumed needs have the potential of also creating needs that were not there from the start. Paper III shows that many religious counsellors who are affiliated with Swedish healthcare as spiritual advisers present ideas on abortion that are less progressive than what is stipulated in Swedish abortion law. Paper IV shows that imperatives to promote gender equality in contraceptive counselling were taken seriously by providers in their encounters with non-Western women, at the possible expense of respect for relationship structures that do not conform to the ideals of gender equality.

    The findings presented in this thesis show that the interventions and initiatives that sought to presumably help disadvantaged groups of people (i.e. Muslims, immigrant women) could, in fact, be obstacles to solving the problems they were meant to address. I argue that the governance of Swedish reproductive healthcare through diversity and equality ideals must be problematised and balanced with regard to their plausible consequences.

    List of papers
    1. Are 'low socioeconomic status' and 'religiousness' barriers to minority women's use of contraception? A qualitative exploration and critique of a common argument in reproductive health research
    Open this publication in new window or tab >>Are 'low socioeconomic status' and 'religiousness' barriers to minority women's use of contraception? A qualitative exploration and critique of a common argument in reproductive health research
    2019 (English)In: Midwifery, ISSN 0266-6138, E-ISSN 1532-3099, Vol. 75, p. 59-65Article in journal (Refereed) Published
    Abstract [en]

    Objective: 'Low socioeconomic status' and 'religiousness' appear to have gained status as nearly universal explanatory models for why women in minority groups are less likely to use contraception than other women in the Scandinavian countries. Through interviews with pious Muslim women with immigrant background, living in Denmark and Sweden, we wanted to gain empirical insights that could inform a discussion about what 'low socioeconomic status' and 'religiousness' might mean with regard to women's reproductive decisions.

    Design: Semi-structured interviews were conducted in Denmark and Sweden between 2013 and 2016.

    Findings: We found that a low level of education and a low income were not necessarily obstacles for women's use of contraception; rather, these were strong imperatives for women to wait to have children until their life circumstances become more stable. Arguments grounded in Islamic dictates on contraception became powerful tools for women to substantiate how it is religiously appropriate to postpone having children, particularly when their financial and emotional resources were not yet established.

    Conclusion: We have shown that the dominant theory that 'low socioeconomic status' and 'religiousness' are paramount barriers to women's use of contraception must be problematized. When formulating suggestions for how to provide contraceptive counseling to women in ethnic and religious minority groups in Denmark and Sweden, one must also take into account that factors such as low financial security as well as religious convictions can be strong imperatives for women to use contraception.

    Implications for practice: This study can help inform a critical discussion about the difficulties of using broad group-categorizations for understanding individuals' health-related behavior, as well as the validity of targeted interventions towards large heterogeneous minority groups in Scandinavian contraceptive counseling.

    Keywords
    Muslim women, Immigrant women, Contraceptive use, Reproductive health, Denmark, Sweden
    National Category
    Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
    Identifiers
    urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-388751 (URN)10.1016/j.midw.2019.03.017 (DOI)000470962400011 ()31005014 (PubMedID)
    Funder
    Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2014-4576
    Available from: 2019-08-14 Created: 2019-08-14 Last updated: 2019-09-05Bibliographically approved
    2. Modes of Governing: A Foucaultian Perspective on Encounters between Healthcare Providers and Muslim Women in Swedish Reproductive Healthcare
    Open this publication in new window or tab >>Modes of Governing: A Foucaultian Perspective on Encounters between Healthcare Providers and Muslim Women in Swedish Reproductive Healthcare
    (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    There are probably few groups of patients in Sweden today that arouse as much associations and thoughts as do Muslims from the Middle East. The core dilemma in much of these discussions is whether healthcare providers should adjust the provision of care to Muslims’ divergent religious preferences, or if they would be better off to treat Muslims in the same way as other patients. These debates are often entangled with both a concern about politics of equality (i.e. ambitions to treat everyone the same) and politics of diversity (i.e. to treatpeople from ethnic and religious minority groups differently). Inspired by Foucault’s concept of governmentality, we in this study intended to explore the principles of ‘equality’ and 'diversity’ as governing tools for the shaping of healthcare providers and patients’ conduct. We found that although these governing tools are presented as non-conflicting in health policies, there seems to be an often-present trade-off between diversity and equality ideals in their practical implementation. When these policies are assigned meaning and implemented inpractice, they appear to generate unforeseeable consequences, both for healthcare providers and for the patients. It thus appears that the policies that were introduced with the intention of improving the structure of multicultural care encounters, in some cases, had an opposite effect.

    Keywords
    Muslim, reproductive healthcare, diversity, equality, politics of recognition, Sweden
    National Category
    Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
    Identifiers
    urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-392207 (URN)
    Available from: 2019-08-31 Created: 2019-08-31 Last updated: 2019-09-05Bibliographically approved
    3. Does Religious Counselling on Abortion Comply with Sweden’s ‘Women‑Friendly’ Abortion Policies?: A Qualitative Exploration Among Religious Counsellors
    Open this publication in new window or tab >>Does Religious Counselling on Abortion Comply with Sweden’s ‘Women‑Friendly’ Abortion Policies?: A Qualitative Exploration Among Religious Counsellors
    2019 (English)In: Sexuality & Culture, ISSN 1095-5143, E-ISSN 1936-4822, Vol. 23, no 4, p. 1230-1249Article in journal (Refereed) Published
    Abstract [en]

    The abortion discourse in Sweden is marked by historically liberal ideals about women’s inviolable right to make autonomous reproductive decisions. However, to respond to the increase in cultural and religious pluralism building up over several decades, religious organizations have been given opportunities to provide so-called spiritual care in affiliation with Swedish hospitals since the 1980s. In this study we asked: in what ways do religious counsellors, affiliated with Swedish hospitals, construct their ideas on abortion, and how well do their ideas comply with Sweden’s ‘women-friendly’ abortion policies? Through interviews with Protestant, Catho-lic, Muslim, and Buddhist religious counsellors, we wanted to empirically test the presumption underlying the decisions to grant space to religious actors in Swedish healthcare, i.e., that religious counselling serves to complement existing services. We found that it cannot be expected that religious advice on abortion will always comply with Swedish abortion law and with the women-friendly abortion policy that the Swedish state seeks to impose. When policy-makers open up possibilities for diverse norms on abortion to manifest in close affiliation with healthcare institutions, they must be aware that some religious counsellors argue that only God—and not the woman herself—can decide whether a woman can terminate a pregnancy. We argue that the findings in this study speaks to what researchers have referred to as the “diversity-equality paradox”, which highlights the tension between the promotion of religious ideas on abortion on the one hand and the promotion of liberal ideas about women’s reproductive freedom on the other.

    Keywords
    Abortion, Women’s rights, Religious counselling, Diversity promotion, The diversity–equality paradox, Healthcare, Sweden
    National Category
    Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
    Identifiers
    urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-389908 (URN)10.1007/s12119-019-09614-6 (DOI)000490290000011 ()
    Funder
    Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare
    Available from: 2019-07-31 Created: 2019-07-31 Last updated: 2019-11-08Bibliographically approved
    4. Unintended Consequences of Gender Equality Promotion in Swedish Multicultural Contraceptive Counseling: A Discourse Analysis.
    Open this publication in new window or tab >>Unintended Consequences of Gender Equality Promotion in Swedish Multicultural Contraceptive Counseling: A Discourse Analysis.
    Show others...
    2017 (English)In: Qualitative Health Research, ISSN 1049-7323, E-ISSN 1552-7557, Vol. 27, no 10, p. 1518-1528Article in journal (Refereed) Published
    Abstract [en]

    In this article, we explore how reproductive health care providers in Sweden, a country often described as one of the most gender-equal countries in the world, incorporate gender equality ideals in multicultural contraceptive counseling. In the tension between gender equality promotion on one hand and respect for cultural diversity and individualized care on the other, we will demonstrate that values of gender equality were often given priority. This is not necessarily undesirable. Nevertheless, our proposal is that the gender equality ideology may inhibit providers' ability to think differently about issues at stake in contraceptive counseling, which may negatively influence women's possibilities to obtain adequate support. At the end of the article, we suggest how health care providers' reflexivity might be used as a working tool for increased awareness about the taken-for-granted cultural norms that exist in their clinical milieu.

    Keywords
    Sweden, contraceptive counseling, cultural diversity, discourse analysis, gender equality, qualitative method, reproductive health, women
    National Category
    Medical and Health Sciences
    Identifiers
    urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-327196 (URN)10.1177/1049732317697099 (DOI)000406057500007 ()28728532 (PubMedID)
    Funder
    Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare
    Available from: 2017-08-07 Created: 2017-08-07 Last updated: 2019-08-31Bibliographically approved
  • 3.
    Arousell, Jonna
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), International Maternal and Reproductive Health and Migration.
    Carlbom, A.
    Malmö Univ, Fac Hlth & Soc, Malmö, Sweden..
    Essén, Birgitta
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), International Maternal and Reproductive Health and Migration.
    Is multiculturalism bad for swedish abortion care?: Exploring the diversity of religious counselling in public healthcare institutions2018In: European Journal of Public Health, ISSN 1101-1262, E-ISSN 1464-360X, Vol. 28, no 1, p. 122-122Article in journal (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Background:

    Sweden has one of the most liberal abortion laws in the world, granting women extensive rights to make autonomous reproductive decisions. At the same time, Swedish policy-makers are keen to protect society’s religious diversity. This ambition is reflected in decisions to grant religious leaders the possibility to provide ‘spiritual care’ in public hospitals. Through interviews with religious representatives in public healthcare institutions, we asked: In what ways would they counsel a religious woman who is seeking their advice about abortion? And how does this advice correspond with Swedish policies on, and provision of, abortion care?

    Methods:

    Individual interviews were conducted with religious representatives of the Swedish Church, the Catholic Church, and the Buddhist and Muslim communities. Interviews took place in 2016 and 2017.

    Findings:

    We found that informants saw it as their obligation to provide religious people with abortion advice according to religious norms, giving them limited opportunities to harmonise the content of their counselling with Swedish healthcare laws or regulations. Most informants argued that it was their responsibility to inform women about the wrongdoing of terminating a pregnancy, and to provide suggestions about how women could mitigate the sin in order to gain God’s forgiveness.

    Conclusion:

    Informants appeared inclined to deliver religious recommendations on abortion that were more conservative than what is established in the Swedish Abortion Act.

    Main messages:

    • ‘Spiritual care’ in the question of abortion favours the delivery of religious norms at the possible expense of women’s right to non-judgmental abortion counselling.

    • ‘Spiritual care’ is now an integral part of Swedish healthcare institutions. A critical discussion is needed about the extent to which such services should be in compliance with Swedish laws and public health aims on abortion.

  • 4.
    Arousell, Jonna
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), International Maternal and Reproductive Health and Migration.
    Carlbom, A.
    Malmö Univ, Fac Hlth & Soc, Malmö, Sweden..
    Johnsdotter, S.
    Malmö Univ, Fac Hlth & Soc, Malmö, Sweden..
    Essén, Birgitta
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), International Maternal and Reproductive Health and Migration.
    Are 'Low Socioeconomic Status' and 'Religiousness' barriers to minority women's contraceptive use in Sweden and Denmark?: A qualitative interrogation of a common argument in health research2018In: European Journal of Public Health, ISSN 1101-1262, E-ISSN 1464-360X, Vol. 28, p. 121-121Article in journal (Other academic)
  • 5.
    Arousell, Jonna
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health.
    Carlbom, Aje
    Faculty of Health and Society, Malmö University, Sweden.
    Culture and religious beliefs in relation to reproductive health2016In: Baillière's Best Practice & Research: Clinical Obstetrics & Gynaecology, ISSN 1521-6934, E-ISSN 1532-1932, Vol. 32, p. 77-87Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    An increasing number of contemporary research publications acknowledge the influence of religion and culture on sexual and reproductive behavior and health-care utilization. It is currently hypothesized that religious influences can partly explain disparities in sexual and reproductive health outcomes. In this paper, we will pay particular attention to Muslims in sexual and reproductive health care. This review reveals that knowledge about devout Muslims' own experience of sexual and reproductive health-care matters is limited, thus providing weak evidence for modeling of efficient practical guidelines for sexual and reproductive health care directed at Muslim patients. Successful outcomes in sexual and reproductive health of Muslims require both researchers and practitioners to acknowledge religious heterogeneity and variability, and individuals' possibilities to negotiate Islamic edicts. Failure to do so could lead to inadequate health-care provision and, in the worst case, to suboptimal encounters between migrants with Muslim background and the health-care providers in the receiving country.

  • 6.
    Arousell, Jonna
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), International Maternal and Reproductive Health and Migration.
    Carlbom, Aje
    Malmo Univ, Fac Hlth & Soc, S-20506 Malmo, Sweden.
    Johnsdotter, Sara
    Malmo Univ, Fac Hlth & Soc, S-20506 Malmo, Sweden.
    Essén, Birgitta
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), International Maternal and Reproductive Health and Migration.
    Are 'low socioeconomic status' and 'religiousness' barriers to minority women's use of contraception? A qualitative exploration and critique of a common argument in reproductive health research2019In: Midwifery, ISSN 0266-6138, E-ISSN 1532-3099, Vol. 75, p. 59-65Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Objective: 'Low socioeconomic status' and 'religiousness' appear to have gained status as nearly universal explanatory models for why women in minority groups are less likely to use contraception than other women in the Scandinavian countries. Through interviews with pious Muslim women with immigrant background, living in Denmark and Sweden, we wanted to gain empirical insights that could inform a discussion about what 'low socioeconomic status' and 'religiousness' might mean with regard to women's reproductive decisions.

    Design: Semi-structured interviews were conducted in Denmark and Sweden between 2013 and 2016.

    Findings: We found that a low level of education and a low income were not necessarily obstacles for women's use of contraception; rather, these were strong imperatives for women to wait to have children until their life circumstances become more stable. Arguments grounded in Islamic dictates on contraception became powerful tools for women to substantiate how it is religiously appropriate to postpone having children, particularly when their financial and emotional resources were not yet established.

    Conclusion: We have shown that the dominant theory that 'low socioeconomic status' and 'religiousness' are paramount barriers to women's use of contraception must be problematized. When formulating suggestions for how to provide contraceptive counseling to women in ethnic and religious minority groups in Denmark and Sweden, one must also take into account that factors such as low financial security as well as religious convictions can be strong imperatives for women to use contraception.

    Implications for practice: This study can help inform a critical discussion about the difficulties of using broad group-categorizations for understanding individuals' health-related behavior, as well as the validity of targeted interventions towards large heterogeneous minority groups in Scandinavian contraceptive counseling.

  • 7.
    Arousell, Jonna
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), International Maternal and Reproductive Health and Migration.
    Carlbom, Aje
    Faculty of Health and Society, Malmö University.
    Johnsdotter, Sara
    Faculty of Health and Society, Malmö University.
    Essén, Birgitta
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), International Maternal and Reproductive Health and Migration.
    Does Religious Counselling on Abortion Comply with Sweden’s ‘Women‑Friendly’ Abortion Policies?: A Qualitative Exploration Among Religious Counsellors2019In: Sexuality & Culture, ISSN 1095-5143, E-ISSN 1936-4822, Vol. 23, no 4, p. 1230-1249Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The abortion discourse in Sweden is marked by historically liberal ideals about women’s inviolable right to make autonomous reproductive decisions. However, to respond to the increase in cultural and religious pluralism building up over several decades, religious organizations have been given opportunities to provide so-called spiritual care in affiliation with Swedish hospitals since the 1980s. In this study we asked: in what ways do religious counsellors, affiliated with Swedish hospitals, construct their ideas on abortion, and how well do their ideas comply with Sweden’s ‘women-friendly’ abortion policies? Through interviews with Protestant, Catho-lic, Muslim, and Buddhist religious counsellors, we wanted to empirically test the presumption underlying the decisions to grant space to religious actors in Swedish healthcare, i.e., that religious counselling serves to complement existing services. We found that it cannot be expected that religious advice on abortion will always comply with Swedish abortion law and with the women-friendly abortion policy that the Swedish state seeks to impose. When policy-makers open up possibilities for diverse norms on abortion to manifest in close affiliation with healthcare institutions, they must be aware that some religious counsellors argue that only God—and not the woman herself—can decide whether a woman can terminate a pregnancy. We argue that the findings in this study speaks to what researchers have referred to as the “diversity-equality paradox”, which highlights the tension between the promotion of religious ideas on abortion on the one hand and the promotion of liberal ideas about women’s reproductive freedom on the other.

  • 8.
    Arousell, Jonna
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH).
    Carlbom, Aje
    Malmo Univ, Fac Hlth & Soc, Social Anthropol, Malmo, Sweden.
    Johnsdotter, Sara
    Malmo Univ, Fac Hlth & Soc, Med Anthropol, Malmo, Sweden.
    Larsson, Elin C.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH).
    Essén, Birgitta
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH).
    Unintended Consequences of Gender Equality Promotion in Swedish Multicultural Contraceptive Counseling: A Discourse Analysis.2017In: Qualitative Health Research, ISSN 1049-7323, E-ISSN 1552-7557, Vol. 27, no 10, p. 1518-1528Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In this article, we explore how reproductive health care providers in Sweden, a country often described as one of the most gender-equal countries in the world, incorporate gender equality ideals in multicultural contraceptive counseling. In the tension between gender equality promotion on one hand and respect for cultural diversity and individualized care on the other, we will demonstrate that values of gender equality were often given priority. This is not necessarily undesirable. Nevertheless, our proposal is that the gender equality ideology may inhibit providers' ability to think differently about issues at stake in contraceptive counseling, which may negatively influence women's possibilities to obtain adequate support. At the end of the article, we suggest how health care providers' reflexivity might be used as a working tool for increased awareness about the taken-for-granted cultural norms that exist in their clinical milieu.

  • 9.
    Arousell, Jonna
    et al.
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), International Maternal and Reproductive Health and Migration.
    Essén, Birgitta
    Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH).
    Johnsdotter, Sara
    Department of Social Work, Malmö University.
    Carlbom, Aje
    Department of Social Work, Malmö University.
    Modes of Governing: A Foucaultian Perspective on Encounters between Healthcare Providers and Muslim Women in Swedish Reproductive HealthcareManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    There are probably few groups of patients in Sweden today that arouse as much associations and thoughts as do Muslims from the Middle East. The core dilemma in much of these discussions is whether healthcare providers should adjust the provision of care to Muslims’ divergent religious preferences, or if they would be better off to treat Muslims in the same way as other patients. These debates are often entangled with both a concern about politics of equality (i.e. ambitions to treat everyone the same) and politics of diversity (i.e. to treatpeople from ethnic and religious minority groups differently). Inspired by Foucault’s concept of governmentality, we in this study intended to explore the principles of ‘equality’ and 'diversity’ as governing tools for the shaping of healthcare providers and patients’ conduct. We found that although these governing tools are presented as non-conflicting in health policies, there seems to be an often-present trade-off between diversity and equality ideals in their practical implementation. When these policies are assigned meaning and implemented inpractice, they appear to generate unforeseeable consequences, both for healthcare providers and for the patients. It thus appears that the policies that were introduced with the intention of improving the structure of multicultural care encounters, in some cases, had an opposite effect.

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