Wednesday 3 June 2015

Gender and Health

While there are continuing attempts to breech the divides there remains a significant schism between the sciences, including medicine, and the humanities; history, politics, philosophy and literature. Students of gender, however, are most often called upon to work across the disciplines because life is like that. The human condition is complex and even the best, holistic view on any particular subject, will grapple with this multiplicity.

The history of medicine is a fascinating subject in itself, and a body of literature that takes a gender perspective is pertinent. In 2014 the Australian Women’s Health Network hosted a forum, and launched a guide: Making it better: gender transformative health promotion. The presenters Nancy Poole and Lorraine Greaves, from the British Colombia Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health, drew attention to an emphasis in the Ottowa Charter from the World Health Organisation on the social determinants of health. These are the economic and social conditions, such as access to housing, education and employment, rather than individual risk factors for positive health outcomes. These social and economic factors can be broken down by gender, race/ethnicity and class, and after extensive analysis of health promotion strategies Poole and Greaves found most programs to be gender blind. They have put together a framework for constructing a gender transformative approach to health promotion which is accessible through the above mentioned guide. You can see the forum online.* Furthermore, they launched an online course – Gender equality through health promotion.+

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