HLTC02 Chapter Summaries all.doc

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Health Studies
Toba Bryant

Chapter 1: Our Bodies Our Selves in Context Women and the Body Throughout western history beliefs about the body particularly the difference between men and womens bodies have greatly influenced the development of contemporary western science. Womens roles as nurturers and caretakers, and their own messy bodies which menstruate, lactate and give birth, give way to gendered association of women with the body and men with the mind. The term Somatophobia or fear of the body, was heightened in discussions about womens bodies. Mens bodies were believed to be ordered and self contained and the standard of the norm that womens bodies should be compared to. Biological determinism; that is, that peoples abilities and roles on society were assured to be attributable their biology. The move in feminism has been the affirmation of the womans body. Impetus for womens Health movement in Canada Key defining features of the womens health movement is defined by and shaped in, social, psychological and economic environments and relationships. Health is a social issue and social contract. First Wave Feminist focused primary on gaining access to formal political system. They stated that bodies should not prevent women from being able to participate in the political decision-making. Second Wave Feminist focused on critiquing the ways in which women had been characterized as less than fully human by male philosophers and thinkers because of their bodies. The second wave was a period of social upheaval in North America and European society, which spawned a host of social movements. The second wave is characterized as the period of activism dominated by the concerns of white, middle class, able-bodied, heterosexual women. The key issues during the second wave are reproductive health issues, violence against women, sexuality, and issues related to womens roles in healthcare sector. The third wave Many of the issues in the first and second wave remain concerns in the third wave. Contemporary feminists have become active players in both the development of womens specialized health programs and in the development of health policy in Canada. Activism in the third wave is characterized by increased involvement of women in bureaucratic and institutional structures. Feminist agendas were reactive to government and institutional agendas. Challenges for the Future Womens health advocates still find themselves up against a medical system that is biomedical in focus and treats women as a set of parts to be fixed by practitioners who alone know whats best for women. Chapter 2: More than age and Biology: Overhauling Lifespan Approaches to womens health Life course/span perspective arose during 1960s and different types of scientist use it. Life course/span perspectives looks into a series of roles and experiences that an individual progresses through as s/he proceeds from birth to death. Looks into different phases instead of focusing in a single phases in isolation. Lifespan approach to womens health aims to inform and better structure policies that address the specific circumstance and problems women face at various stages of their lives, as well as issues that are universal amongst women. Compared to men, women do have different lifespan and patters of illness. Evolution of the Lifespan Approach in Womens Health There are different definitions of lifespan and different ways of applying depending on the organizations In the US: the health of women, girls is affected by developmental, physiological, and psychological age. In Canada: three life stages. 1) Childhood and adolescence. 2) Early to mid- adulthood. 3) later life Lifespan Framework: Current Practices and Proposed Reforms There is lack of longitudinal data on womens health, which of course is essential for any effective lifespan analysis. There are a lot of issues that needs to discuss to develop an effective approach that is capable of understanding and responding to the diversity of womens longitudinal health issues. Such as: o Biomedical Hegemony: even though we have a lot of research that demonstrates the relationship between social factors and health, lifespan approach to womens health remain largely determined by biomedical model. For example, for diabetes the existing biomedically informed approach would suggest that obesity and genetic factors are the most important determinant of morbidity in diabetes. However they need to put thing like lack of acceissible services, high rate of complication, early onset which are clearly seen in the aboriginal community. Current lifespan approaches do not focus on the right issues ore result hence not being able to improve all womens life. o The organization and conceptualizing of life Stages: it illustrates the life stages. Early life stages, life span approach consider fetal life and childhood in term of risk factors later associated with chronic diseases and disorders. Adolescences issues that are often raised are STIs, HIV/AIDS, pregnancy, menarches, violence and lifespan mark this stage in life by development concerns such as employment, finding a partner, having and raising children. In Midlife: focuses in chronic diseases and menopause. Finally later life: the problem changes into functional health. Such as issues with vision, hearing and much more. o Individualizing Responsibility for health: biomedicine is fixated on individuals, their risks factors, and behaviours that are expressed through the body. There is danger i presenting all choices that women make in their lives as freely determined personal choices. Using this individualist approach ca n lead to blaming women for apparent lifestyle they have no control over. The separation of the individual from her large social situation is of course a huge difference between biomedicine and public health. Over all, womens opportunities and choices are to a certain extent constrained by decisions and actions taken by families and communities and government policies. o Undervaluing determinants of Health: income, social status, employment, education...are key determinate of health. Key importance should be given to economic and social challenges, example is the relationship between poverty and ill health. Shift in policies, politics, employment and others play a major role on health. o Marginalization and mis-conceptualization of gender: lifespan approach put gender inequality and discrimination in picture since it harms girls and women health directly and indirectly throughout the lifecycle. Biomedicine tend to marginalize the importance of gender and also when gender is also taken into the account its meaning and significance is taken into an account. We cannot treat all women in one category since there are different phase/stages in a women life. o The Invisibility of Difference: a problem that recognize the diversity in womens live. For any lifespan framework to be inclusive, it is essential that the diversity and variation within age cohorts be made front and center. Some group of women those belonging to the middle and upper classes typically enjoy health advantage over those who are poor, unemployed. A good example is the health disparities that is seen in America between different group of people. In Canada the life expectancy of an aboriginal women is shorter than a general Canadian women. o Intersectionality as an Explanatory Resources: its application to health is only starting to be explored and its application to lifespan framing remains largely uninvestigated.
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