African Womanhood and Incontinent Bodies

Kenyan Women with Vaginal Fistulas

  • Kathomi Gatwiri

About this book


This book reveals the structures of poverty, power, patriarchy and imperialistic health policies that underpin what the World Health Organization calls the “hidden disease” of vaginal fistulas in Africa. By employing critical feminist and post-colonial perspectives, it shows how “leaking black female bodies” are constructed, ranked, stratified and marginalised in global maternal health care, and explains why women in Africa are at risk of developing vaginal fistulas and then having adequate treatment delayed or denied. Drawing on face-to-face, in-depth interviews with 30 Kenyan women, it paints a rare social portrait of the heartbreaking challenges for Kenyan women living with this most profound gender-related health issue – an experience of shame, taboo and abjection with severe implications for women’s wellbeing, health and sexuality. In absolutely groundbreaking depth, this book shows why research on vaginal fistulas must incorporate feminist understandings of bodily experience to inform future practices and knowledge.


Vaginal Fistulas African Womanhood Kenyan Women’s Health African Women's Sexuality Abjection of Black Bodies African Feminist Frameworks Incontinent Bodies Intersections of Women’s Oppression Obstetric Fistulas Female Genital Mutilation Obstetric Care in Kenya Leaking Bodies Child Marriages African Patriarchy Stigma of Vaginal Fistualas African Women's Reproductive Health African Womanhood under Colonisation Vaginal Fistulas and Structural Disadvantage Living with Vaginal Fistulas

Authors and affiliations

  • Kathomi Gatwiri
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Arts and Social SciencesSouthern Cross UniversityBilinga, CoolongataAustralia

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019
  • Publisher Name Springer, Singapore
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences
  • Print ISBN 978-981-13-0564-1
  • Online ISBN 978-981-13-0565-8
  • Buy this book on publisher's site