Gender and Health – website and information sheets

In any given culture, according to accepted norms, gender differences can arise. Some of the differences may not automatically connate inequalities, but in most cases they do.

On the website of the Gender and Women's Health Department of the World Health Organization, there is a discussion of some of these inequalities and a link to several helpful information sheets on these issues. Some of the examples of how gender differences can lead to inequities in health status and access to care include: 

  • A woman cannot receive needed health care because norms in her community prevent her from travelling alone to a clinic.
  • A teenage boy dies in an accident because of trying to live up to his peers’ expectations that young men should be "bold" risk-takers.
  • A married woman contracts HIV because societal standards encourage her husband’s promiscuity while simultaneously preventing her from insisting on condom use.
  • A country's lung cancer mortality rate for men far outstrips the corresponding rate for women because smoking is considered an attractive marker of masculinity, while it is frowned upon in women.

In seeking to help "increase health professionals' awareness of the role of gender norms, values, and inequality in perpetuating disease, disability, and death, and to promote societal change with a view to eliminating gender as a barrier to good health," the Gender and Women's Health Department posts a number of helpful information sheets at this link HERE.

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