Madres adolescentessignificados y experiencias

  1. Gabriela Henríquez Valencia
Supervised by:
  1. Juana Macías-Seda Director
  2. Eugenia Gil García Director

Defence university: Universidad de Sevilla

Year of defence: 2016

  1. Carmen González Canalejo Chair
  2. Joaquín Salvador Lima-Rodríguez Secretary
  3. Isabel Balza Committee member
  4. Carmen Álvarez Nieto Committee member
  5. José Luis Sarasola Committee member

Type: Thesis

Teseo: 428013 DIALNET lock_openIdus editor


Introduction: Despite sexual and reproductive health policies to prevent early unplanned pregnancies, the number of teenage pregnancies in recent years has not been reduced significantly in our region, and this has great implications on young mothers. Some of the consequences are school dropouts, forced or early romantic relationships, as well as poor access to employment. These unfavourable conditions are greatly due to the clear division in tasks assigned to men and women, where the women are responsible for childcare and housework, following the traditional role of a full---time mother. Objectives: To analyse from a gender perspective, the origin, meaning and consequences of maternity through the narratives and life experiences of teenage mothers. Methods: Qualitative study. The sample included 20 teenagers between the ages of 14 and 19, living in different rural and urban areas in the province of Seville. The sample size was determined by data saturation and the data collection method was in---depth interviews using a semi---structured script. The first phase of data analysis was performed using the NUDIST---VIVO software, a very useful tool for categorising, coding and analysing interviews. Subsequently, the narrative of the young mothers was analysed in order to interpret the motherhood process from a feminist perspective and to explain the cultural and social significance of motherhood and how they manage their motherhood duties. Results: A middle---low or low socioeconomic background is an influential factor in the sample, insofar as it is usually a precedent or determinant of other risk factors. Poverty is related to low education levels and a lack of personal life plans because it limits access to qualifications (like higher education). Another common factor is that these young women sense a lack of watchfulness from their parents, especially regarding schedules and duties, in families that were either formed by teenage mothers or had some type of conflict after divorce or with absent parents. The family households of the interviewees have an asymmetric distribution of domestic chores with a clear sexist and stereotyped pattern. The main duties outlined by the teenagers are related to childcare and domestic chores, with a clear division of the duties assigned to men and women. The relationships these teenagers have with their partners are governed by an idealized understanding of romantic love and are marked by a strong emotional dependence, which makes them very disadvantaged after maternity. The roles of the couple fall under a sexist paradigm that assigns the teenage women a submissive role. It is noteworthy that maternity is planned by eight of the twenty interviewees. Furthermore, there are four women that express it was something they desired subconsciously. The most common reasons for this were the desire to consolidate their romantic relationship and the lack of a life plan. For the rest of the teenagers (the youngest in particular), maternity was unplanned and a consequence of the lack of family planning agreement and negotiation with their partners under a stereotyped perspective, justifying the non---use of contraception as a way of giving themselves more affectionately and showing emotional trustfulness towards the men. The "good mother" role model is perceived by the teenagers as a natural ability and they relate this mainly with meeting the basic needs of their children. There are two narratives regarding motherhood: in the first we see the prevalence of sacrifice and that the pregnancy was a strategy in the search of a life plan; the other narrative, where maternity was unplanned, is to delegate childcare onto their family members, who are also women. Conclusion: These teenagers perceive maternity as a complex process resulting in several disadvantages for them, simply for being women. The consequences of the pregnancy are an excess of responsibilities, dropping out of school and not taking part in leisure activities common to their age group. They also admit to having more responsibilities and care duties than the fathers of their child. Regarding their personal life plans, we observe two narratives. One is marked by the exclusive and preferential interest in taking care of the child, accepting an intensive motherhood with the sole role of mother caretaker and a stereotyped perception of gender roles. The other group acknowledges the possibility and advantages of continuing to study and to enter the job market, although they don't have clear strategies on how to achieve this. Therefore, we think that in order to reduce the problems encountered by teenage mothers, we should confront those sexist beliefs that serve as a base to arguments supporting the differences between men and women, as well as address the consequences that those beliefs have on the sexist roles and stereotypes.