Navigating midwifery solidarity: A feminist participatory action research framework
Women and Birth
School of Nursing and Midwifery
A core aspect of midwifery philosophy is the optimisation of normal physiology; however, this has been challenged as a radical idea in the medicalisation of birth. Research has demonstrated the benefits of midwifery in improving outcomes for both mothers and babies. The understanding of midwifery benefits fails to reach wider sociocultural contexts as births becomes more medicalised. Midwifery research requires an action arm, to help translate theory to practice and mobilise midwives in solidarity with women towards action and change.
The aim of this article is to describe a Feminist Participatory Action Research (FPAR) by establishing the philosophical underpinnings, theory and methodology with an exemplar.
FPAR has two distinct yet intertwined parts, a research arm and an action arm. The study was conducted using FPAR, and collaboration with nine women, who led transformative action within their community. The exemplar details the use of the FPAR framework.
A FPAR framework was developed through this research to guide researchers aiming to use the FPAR design. The framework details four steps: 1. Create, 2. Collaborate, 3. Consider, and 4. Change. The iterative FPAR cycles were shown in this study to centre women in the research and guide the community research group towards transformative action.
FPAR is shown in this project to assist midwifery researchers to realise solidarity and provides support for other midwifery researchers in applying feminist theory and participatory methodologies to bring about transformation within their research.