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Multiple voices, multiple realities: female industrial workers' health in Sri Lanka

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Abstract:

The literature on female workers' health in export processing industries in Sri Lanka shows that female workers suffer from illnesses that include occupational and mental health problems. However, the quantitative approaches in the literature are unable to reveal the workers' perspectives on and experiences of their health status. The main purpose of this article is to provide a broader view of female workers' health by exploring lived experiences of illness and health. I explore workers' health beyond the traditional quantitative approach in health research of describing the health problems, and by listening to 'women's voices' on their experiences and perceptions of their health status. Further, different voices representing different supportive environments for health were listened to in order to identify diverse perspectives on workers' health. This demonstrates the existence of multiple realities from multiple standpoints regarding female workers' health and leads to the question of whether the existence of multiple realities in health results in worsening health status in the female workers in export processing industries in Sri Lanka.

Keywords: Sri Lanka; female industrial workers; feminist qualitative research; health; institutional perspectives

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00291950310002134

Publication date: September 1, 2003

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