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PROJECT TOPIC: STIGMATIZATION AND ALIENATION OF UNMARRIED TEENAGE MOTHERS IN SUBCULTURE

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the study

Unintended pregnancy among unmarried female mothers is a global phenomenon. It occurs in both developed and developing nations but with variations in degree and its consequences on the social actor's involved. Although widely recognized as a social problem, unintended pregnancy stigma has not been extensively studied by social and behavioral scientists. Because labeling stigmatization and alienation is by definition a relational construct, adequately understanding it requires analysis at both cultural and individual levels. Teenagers all over the world attract attention. Unmarried teenage parenthood is by no means a new phenomenon. In the developing world, unmarried teenage pregnancies are very common especially in the urban areas due to differences in culture. In Agege Local Government of Lagos State, pre-marital sex is not encouraged culturally. The culture is in support of sanctity of sex but with the waves of civilization, that aspect of culture is gradually forgotten. Out-of-wedlock teenage pregnancy has major physical, social, and psychological consequences. In addition to the need to cope with motherhood, many unmarried teenage mothers face stigma, lack of schooling, and livelihood insecurity. The labeling and stigmatization of unmarried teenage mothers have not been without its consequences as it have caused many unmarried teenage mothers series of personal and collective problems especially in the area of sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancy (Abdulraheem, & Fawole, 2009; Atuyambe, Mirembe, Johansson, Kirumira & Faxelid, 2005). Though unmarried teenage mother's pregnancy prevention efforts are varied nationwide, many deal in shame and stigma. Unmarried teenage mothers compared to their male partners have been reported as the most affected with the stigma and shame associated with unwanted pregnancy in many developing nations especially in cultures where fertility within the marriage institution is highly valued; while the male gets away with the act, the females are biologically meant to carry the physical evidence of their act. (Ilika & Anthony, 2004). A research carried out by World health Organization (WHO, 2009) indicates that 16 million girls aged between 15 and 19 give birth every year. Within this figure, 95 per cent of them occur in developing countries. Across cultures, just seven countries namely: Bangladesh, Brazil, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria and the United States of America are responsible for half of all adolescent births (WHO. 2009). The normative picture of unmarried teenage mothers in the sub-Saharan Africa is that of an unhealthy looking girl with an unhealthy child, poorly educated, suffering from poverty, unemployed, shattered future, lacks access to reproductive health services and stigmatized for having unintended pregnancy (WHO,2007).


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