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SOCI 3820 (14)
Chapter 5

Chapter 5 Women’s Health in Context.docx

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SOCI 3820
Eric Mykhalovskiy

Chapter 5 Women’s Health in Context: Gender Issues Introduction  Relations of ruling – Dorothy Smith used this term to emphasize how social processes are structured by the powerful in easy that shape our consciousness and our practices.  Dichotomies – refers to distinctions made between two parts that are understood to be distinct and quite different. Nature and Nurture  There have long been debates in the social sciences about what is biologically determined and what is socially constructed, argument often characterized as nature versus nurture.  In briefly reviewing the issues in the debates, this section seeks to make three basic points. o First, there is no simple dichotomies between the physical and the social or even between women and men. o Second, namely, that all health issues are women’s issues while recognizing that there is significant differences among women and no clear boundaries among genders. o Third, bodies still matter and there are broad similarities among women related to their bodies that must be taken into account even while acknowledging that there are a host of other factors that shape bodies in variable easy.  Traditionally in the social sciences, sex is used to refer to bodies.  Based on review of the term’s usage, Johnson et al. conclude that, sex ‘is a multidimensional biological construct that encompasses anatomy, physiology, genes, and hormones, which together affect how we are labeled and treated in the world.’  Gender, on the other hand is ‘a multidimensional social construct that is culturally based and historically specific, and thus constantly changing.’  This notion of sex has helped us explore differences between women and men that go well beyond those linked to reproduction.  In short, there is no simple dichotomy between sex and gender, between bodies and their social and physical environments.  Simple dichotomies also limit our notions of sexuality and the binary division implied by heterosexuality. Contexts and the Factors the Shape Health  There is a broad consensus that all determinant of health influence health, although not all government include gender in their lists vary somewhat among governments.  There are three interrelated problems, though, with these factors are often understood. o First, these determinants are frequently seen as independent variables rather than as interconnected ones. o A second and related problem has to do with the profound inequalities in power, not only among individuals but also among groups, that set the context for these factors o Finally, all of these factors are profoundly gendered. Healthy Child Development  According to the website for the Public Health Agency of Canada, ‘new evidence on the effects of early experiences on brain development, school readiness and health in later life has sparked a growing consensus about early child development as a powerful determinant of health in its own right.’  Supports for pregnant mothers have also improved, perhaps most importantly, women have won the right to paid maternity leave.  Once pregnant, maternal health is obviously a critical concern for future child health as well as for the women: ‘By international standers, Canada ranks among the best in the world in maternal and child health.’  One reason is our public health system, which provides services without charge and of high quality making them broadly accessible.  However, both poor women and Aboriginal women have disturbing rate of maternal and infant mortality.  Nevertheless, almost all women get public care even if it may be distance from the relatives and friends who can provide care.  Although maternity-care services are important, they are not only factor in maternal and child health.  Exposure to environmental contaminants in our food, water, air, household, and paid workplaces can have negative consequences for a mother and the fetus she carries.  Men also contribute to the health of the mother and the fetus, although much less attention is paid to the male contribution.  The health of the sperm matters, bit we have only limited research on the factors that may make male sperm harmful.  The kind of suppo
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