Intersectionality, special populations, needs and suggestions: The Flint Women's study

Academic Article


  • Background: Equitable access to services that promote health and wellbeing is an important component of social justice. A community-engaged participatory qualitative study was conducted in Flint, Michigan, USA, to understand the needs of special populations (young women, perinatal women and new mothers, older women, women with disabilities, and LGBTQIA women) and elicit their ideas about solutions. Methods: In-depth interviews (n = 100) were conducted. Participants were either women living in the Flint area, human service providers in the area, or both. A team of community and academic coders analyzed the data using an a priori framework. Results: Participants identified needs of different groups of women and suggested ways to address them. Access to healthy food, reducing healthcare costs, and improving transportation, job opportunities and affordable quality housing were crosscutting themes across all groups of women. Mentoring support was said to protect vulnerable young women from the risk of human trafficking. Older women were said to gain a sense of purpose, build their social support and reduce their loneliness by engaging in mentoring younger women. Women with disabilities were reported to benefit from infrastructure accessibility and authentic inclusion in all areas of life. Providing help that considers their dignity, pride and self-worth were suggested. LGBTQIA women were reported to have housing needs due to discrimination; mostly turned down as renters and can be rejected from faith-based homeless shelters. LGBTQIA women would also benefit from increased sensitivity among healthcare providers. For all groups of women, streamlining access to social services and other resources, building social support networks and increasing awareness about existing resources were recommended. Conclusion: Efforts directed towards improving women's health and wellbeing should include perspectives and suggestions of diverse groups of women from the community. Acting on suggestions that emanate from the community's lived experiences may reduce inequalities in health and wellbeing.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Hailemariam M; Felton JW; Key K; Greer DO; Jefferson BL; Muhammad J; Miller R; Richie F; Robinson DW; Saddler S
  • Volume

  • 19
  • Issue

  • 1