The study of gender and health is an important topic in the medical and social sciences. Inequities between men and women are a major determinant of well-being and disease, and the role of gender plays in health care is a critical issue for policymakers and researchers alike. Fortunately, there is increasing interest in this subject. In this course, you will learn how to analyze the relationship between gender and health and how you can incorporate gender analysis into health policies and interventions.
In assessing health disparities, you must recognize that gender is not an independent factor. Health outcomes differ between men and women, and men and women face different barriers in accessing health care. This approach emphasizes the intersectionality between gender and other societal factors. For example, a lesbian South African woman in Soweto may have different life outcomes from a white American NGO executive. The interplay between gender and the other social determinants of health affects health access and pathways to care.
Psychosocial factors have a significant impact on health, but they are often secondary to biological and acquired risks. In addition to these, there are differences in how men and women seek and receive health care, their ability to find support, and the stigma associated with illnesses. Furthermore, men and women are more likely to seek help when they are sick than are their female counterparts, and their symptoms differ. Even if their health issues are similar, their symptoms may be ascribed to other factors.