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  Why Women, Gender, and Health?

  • “The health of both sexes is influenced by biological factors including, but not confined to, their reproductive characteristics.”
  • “Socially constructed gender characteristics are also important in shaping the capacity of both women and men to realize their potential for health.”
  • “Gender inequalities in access to health-promoting resources have damaging effects on women’s well-being.”
  • “Men face particular problems because of the relation between masculine identities and risk taking.”

     (Doyal, BMJ 2001; 323; 1061-3)

Addressing issues of women, gender, and health requires the study of the health of people of all genders and gender identities throughout the life course, with gender, gender inequities, and biology understood as important and interacting determinants of well-being and disease. Also included are: the study of gender and gender inequities in relation to individuals’ treatment by, and participation in, health and medical care systems; the physical, economic, and social conditions in which they live; and their ability to promote the health of their families, their communities, and themselves. Inherent in this definition is recognition of diversity and inequities among people of all genders in relation to race, ethnicity, nationality, class, sexual orientation, age, etc., and that the protection of human rights is fundamental to health.

 

Last Updated: August 22, 2020