chapter 7: women’s Health and the politics of poverty and exclusion
Women’s Poverty in Canada
The years 1973-1993 marked a great increase in income inequality in Canada. Income inequality
attributed to a number of problems like a decline in labour unions, wage differences among
certain groups, as a result of these issues there was an increase in the number of families living
Most families living in poverty were usually single-parent homes, and women make up the
larger percent of single-parent homes. As a result women and children seem to be the most at
risk group when it comes to poverty.
Poverty and low-income is a gendered phenomena. Women experience poverty differently
Main causes of poverty among women in Canada
Labour market inequities , and domestic circumstances(violence against women, divorce)
Poverty and women’s Health
Health is powerfully affected by one’s social position.
The Gradient of Health is defined as the line on the graph that remains consistent across
gender, age groups, and cultural groups.
So the people with the lowest SES will most likely have the highest mortality and
Determinants of Health
Women tend to experience more illnesses and disability but men die more quickly than women.
The standard explanations for why women report more ill health; are biological/genetic risks
and social roles/behaviours.
Wounds of Exclusion: Poverty, Women’s Health, and Social justice
The author in this chapter conducted some cohort studies on the effects of exclusion among women in
Living in Material deprivation
For women being materially deprived is severely influenced by their access to health
and certain essentials like food, clothing, housing and transportation.
Poverty imposes constraints on the material conditions of everyday living.
Limited access to fundamental building blocks of health such as health, nutrition,
deprives people attaining a healthy life.
Access to Health
Although Canada has a universal medical system, some groups of people are still
excluded from receiving certain medical treatments. Certain healthcare services referred to as “health promoting extras” (physio-therapy,
vitamins, non-generic medicines) seem to be accessible to only certain groups of people.
Studies showed that there is a two-tier health care system in place. People without
money are treated worse than people who have money. As a result the quality of
healthcare one receives is directly correlated with one’s SES.
Psychosocial Health Problems
When women are on welfare, society tends to look down on them. The stereotype of
the welfare recipient is predicated upon the notion that recipients do not have a valid
reason for being on welfare, they choose to rely on government. As a result many
women face shame, subordination, disrespect and this in turn causes stress and anxiety.
Material deprivation and psychosocial health affects the range of health behaviours
available to low-income women.
Most women on welfare have eating disorders due to the fact that they have low-self-
To relieve stress many women will smoke cigarettes, and this results in poor health
Even though many of the women living on social assistance would like to be healthier
their income does not allow them to live a healthy lifestyle.
Women’s Health as a Social Justice Issue
Health inequality researchers argue that the quality of social relations is a prime determinant of
human welfare and quality of life.
Health as a social justice issue is concerned with creating the opportunities for attaining full
health potential and reducing health inequities.
Equity refers to conditions largely out of individual’s control that create unjust differentials in
Protecting and restori