Donkey work: Women, religion, and HIV/AIDS in Malawi

Sally H. Rankin, Teri Lindgren, William W. Rankin, Joyce Ng'Oma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Addressed in this article are the familial, cultural and religious influences on Malawi women that contribute to HIV/AIDS. Thirty-nine adult Malawi women representing voluntary assistance groups, religious groups, and university women participated in 3 focus groups in Malawi. Interview data were taped, transcribed, and analyzed using qualitative descriptive analysis. Findings revealed that multiple burdens in the lives of Malawi women resulting from poverty and responsibility for family members are made more onerous by religious institutions, sexual practices, and cultural beliefs. In conclusion, women's "donkey work" may result in at-risk sexual behavior as a means of survival, thus increasing the incidence of HIV/AIDS. Alleviating the burdens involves efforts from religious groups and restructuring of belief systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-16
Number of pages13
JournalHealth Care for Women International
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Professions(all)

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