Lecture #10: Gender & Health
• ‘sex’ v. ‘gender’
o sex = biological identification
o gender = social identification
o Sex vs gender- sex is a biological identification as being male or female
o there are more than 2 sexes,
o gender-social identification/construct. The ways we act are identified as masculine or feminine
o These are pointed out b/c it has to do with the organization of society with diff gender roles
assigned to men and women
o Ex/ sex- women have children, gender- women typically are primary caregivers of their
o women’s health are more constructed by their gender roles compared to their biological sex
o Patriarchy: social system that operates to privilege males and masculine traits and burdening
women and feminine traits
o males occupy a central and organized place in society, primary authority figures,
o Women couldn’t vote prior to 1800’s or own property, or own guardianship of children
o Still very present in our society
• Intersectional Analysis
o Intersectional analysis: it is difficult to separate categories into separate areas of study.
o women can’t just be studied, all the other factors have to be considered as well
o Ex/ income level, race especially Aboriginal women,
o these examples illustrate that we can’t separate gender from these other factors. These
categories all work simultaneously together.
• patterns of women’s health
o these patterns are noticed between all classes are race.
• Gender gap in life expectancy
o women 81-82, men 76-77
o Up until the late 1800’s men were out living women, so this is a very recent discovery that
women out live men
o These had to do with child birthing and reproduction control issues, midwives didn’t have the
technology to deal w/ difficult births and was a dangerous life event for women.
o Once more medicalized and technological child births arrived, there was a decline in maternal
deaths. These rates of death began to arise in the 1960’s, mainly because of abortion, even
though it was an illegal act (it became an underground act, which was dangerous and resulted in
many deaths). 1968- abortion legalized resulted in less deaths overall.
o Recently: this gender gap has started to narrow. b/c they go for regular checkups to the Dr.’s
and utilizing more health care services
o Women’s entry into the work force may have contributed to this narrowing gap
o Hormonal drugs women have been encouraged to take, ex/ birth control and hormone
replacement therapy. And women consume more drugs compared to men, which has accelerated dramatica