Original Research

Perceptions of student accoucheurs regarding gender inequality in midwifery training at Free State maternal healthcare institutions

Siphiwe T. Madlala, Thembelihle S. Ngxongo, Maureen N. Sibiya
Curationis | Vol 44, No 1 | a1988 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v44i1.1988 | © 2021 Siphiwe T. Madlala, Thembelihle S. Ngxongo, Maureen N. Sibiya | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 July 2018 | Published: 18 February 2021

About the author(s)

Siphiwe T. Madlala, Department of Nursing Science, Faculty of Science and Agriculture, University of Zululand, Kwadlangezwa, South Africa
Thembelihle S. Ngxongo, Department of Nursing Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, Durban University of Technology, Ritson, South Africa
Maureen N. Sibiya, Department of Nursing Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, Durban University of Technology, Ritson, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Worldwide, gender inequality has been a dominating factor in the training of student accoucheurs in most maternal healthcare institutions. This poses challenges for the maternal healthcare institutions where student accoucheurs are placed for clinical practice as most women become reluctant or refuse to accept their services. Gender inequality has a negative impact on the training of student accoucheurs as most of them become demotivated which could lead to a high attrition rate.

Objectives: This study explored and described the perceptions of student accoucheurs regarding gender inequality in midwifery training at the Free State maternal healthcare institutions.

Method: An explorative and descriptive qualitative research design was undertaken. There were 40 student accoucheurs that formed 10 focus group discussions. Each focus group discussion had four participants. Tesch’s eight-steps of data analysis was used to analyse data.

Results: Three major themes emerged during data analysis: meeting the training requirements in midwifery, women’s autonomy in a choice of healthcare provider versus student accoucheurs’ autonomy to be trained in midwifery and staff establishment to render maternal healthcare.

Conclusion: The participants perceived prejudice, rejection and resistance by women in maternity units as a contributing factor to gender inequality, which has a negative impact on their training in midwifery. The study recommends that health directorates, nurse managers and training institutions should consider revising maternal healthcare policies regarding the recruitment and placement of willing accoucheurs in maternity units in order to address gender inequality.


Keywords

gender inequality; maternal healthcare; perceptions; pregnant women; student accoucheurs

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