Women’s health and wellness
*ideas about women’s health and wellness dominated by media images, which are
reinforced by the medical industry.
*the increasing media and medical attention to the “obesity epidemic” although
there is little consensus as to what, exactly, obesity is.
*The Body Mass Index (BMI) which makes little distinction between body types,
metabolism, bone structure, etc
*Perceptions o f female athletes as healthy yet they are often bulimic/anorexic, or
are much bigger than the images of “healthy women” we see in fitness
*the ideal body type for women strongly influences what the medical industry presents
*Although we long for the “good old days” when people were healthier, life expectancy
and activity levels have steadily increased
Morbidity & women
*Death rates are known as mortality rates, while morbidity refers to ill health, disease,
*morbidity is affected by class, ethnicity, and other aspects of identity
*Statistically, women are a higher percentage of those who experience ill health and
chronic ill health, but women are also more likely than men to visit a doctor and
attend to illness than men, and women also live longer. Both of these factors can
influence morbidity rates.
*Women are statistically more likely to experience ill health. However, women are also
more likely than men to attend to illness , and women also live longer.
*Women are more likely to see a doctor because of pregnancy and menopause.
*Men are more likely to die of treatable/preventable causes since they delay going to a
doctor until the issue has become untreatable.
*Dementia Is a severe loss of cognitive and emotional abilities leading to impairment of
daily function. It is more prevalent among women, but here again, there are more
elderly women than men
*Women are more likely to consult doctors because they often bring children to doctors
as well; men – physical endurance, not giving in to pain so they are more likely not
to admit they are in pain
Gender bias in medical research
*women tend to be excluded from health studies because *child care responsibilities make them less likely to be able to be fully available
during the study
*fertility might be damaged
* they might become pregnant
*menstruation might “skew” results
*excluded for no reason at all.
*Nevertheless, women are diagnosed and treated according to symptoms and
protocols derived from the trials and research projects.
*If women are included in research, their gender specific symptoms are often
*health care professionals sometimes ignore women’s opinions too!
*The test themselves are bias
*women are the vast majority (74%) of paid health care workers (nurses, doctors, etc)
*Women are also the vast majority of the unpaid health care providers in society today.
Extra health care for children, and senior and disabled relatives generally falls to
*Women, as over half of the population, as well as being more likely to use to medical
system, are not surprisingly also the vast majority of the users. Women have not
been entirely satisfied with the treatment they received
*Extra health care for children, senior and disabled relatives generally falls to women
*Until the early 1800s, most births were presided over by midwives and untrained
women. As the process shifted over time into the hands of male medical
professionals, it began to be considered a medical event. Hospital births increased
rapidly from the 1930s.
*Midwives now needed to obtain licenses, which were controlled by male doctors.
*Modern ob/gyn practice has developed based on a male medical model, based on
doctor’s needs, not women’s needs! This is evidenced in practices such as lying
prone, stirrup births which significantly increases the mother’s delivery pain but is
more comfortable for the doctor caesarean sections and induced births do involve
increased risks to both the mother and child, but are resorted to with increasing
*One of the recent change