6 ways that Gender affects Health

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What is Gender? What is inequity? And what do they have to do with Public Health and Global Health? This video explores the relationship between gender and health and highlight 6 important ways in which the health of men and women can be affected by gender inequity. This video was created with support from USC.



In this video we’re going to take a look at how gender inequity affects the health of women and men. So stay tuned. If you’re interested in global health and you want to make the world a better, safer, healthier place then this YouTube channel is for you. If this is your first time here, please subscribe. If you’re a regular, welcome back.

My name is Greg Martin. In this video we’re gonna take a look at the idea of gender. What is gender? How is gender different from sex? What is inequity? And how is inequity different from inequality? And what has all of this got to do with public health? All of this and more. Stay tuned. But first a big thank you to USC for sponsoring this video. Couldn’t do it without you. I really appreciate the support. USC offers a fully online MPH program, and that means it can be completed from anywhere in the world. The curriculum is fantastic, and you get lots and lots of personalized support. And what I really like about this program is that you can customize your education depending on your interests. So you might be interested in global health leadership, or human rights, or epidemiology, and you can customize the program around the things that you are interested in. So, if you want to find out more about the program click on the link in the description below. Okay, let’s get stuck in. Let’s take a look at what the difference is between the idea of gender and the idea of sex. Your sex is about whether or not you’re a male or female. That biological distinction. Gender by contrast is about masculinity and femininity and the associated roles and expectations and opportunities. And it’s about the aspects of masculinity and femininity that an individual may identify with. And these roles and opportunities and expectations differ between cultures, and they may differ over time within a particular culture. For example, about a hundred years ago in western culture pink was considered to be a boys color, and blue was considered to be a girls color. We can see how over time that really flipped over. We’re gonna be talking about gender inequity, and I want to talk just a little bit about the difference between inequity and inequality, because these are two concepts that people muddle up. Inequality exists when there’s an unequal distribution of some phenomenon and that phenomenon might be something like wealth. But it could also be something like health. So there’s this unequal distribution of this phenomenon across the social delineation. That social delineation might be gender, but it may also be race, age, nationality, language, etc., etc. Now, some inequalities are a function of biology. For example, men are on average taller than women. There’s nothing unfair about that. It’s just the way things are. But other inequalities are a function of some sort of systematic unfairness that’s built into the way society works. For example, the fact that women get paid less than men for doing the same job, and by the way that’s a real difference, even once you’ve controlled for every imaginable confounding variable, the difference still exists. And it’s that systematic unfairness that we call inequity. Just to recap. Inequality is the uneven distribution. Inequity is the systematic unfairness that’s built into society that leads to the inequality. Now let’s talk about what all of this means for public health. We’re gonna look at six different ways in which gender affects health. Through the magic of technology I’ve got Dr. Kumar here. She’s from USC and she actually teaches on the subject there and she teaches on the very program that I was telling you about earlier. That fantastic MPH program that you can do online anywhere, anytime. Okay, over to Dr. Kumar.

– Thanks Greg, and hello from sunny California. I’m Dr. Shubha Kumar, Director of the Master of Public Health online program and an assistant professor here at USC. So how does gender affect health? There are six important ways. First, access to resources and opportunities. For example, in Vietnam it was shown that in families where women had fewer opportunities to get education the under five mortality rate was 41 to a thousand live births, compared with 6.7 to 1,000 live births in families where the mother had received secondary education or higher, i.e. a clear association between education of the mother and child mortality. A second key scenario where gender affects health is decision making in the household. For example, in Cambodia a study showed that women who needed their partners permission to be tested for HIV were 73% less likely to have a test, and of course if disease is not being detected it won’t be treated or cured. A third key way that gender affects health is in terms of health seeking behavior itself. For example, in many parts of the world masculinity is associated with not showing sad emotions resulting in decreased presentation to mental health services among men despite needs that may exist. A fourth way that gender affects health is when it comes to access to health information. For example, in some countries reproductive health awareness is considered taboo for unmarried women, and irrelevant for men, so they don’t access it. A fifth way we see gender affecting health is in harmful traditional practices. For example, in some parts of the world female genital mutilation is expected of women and girls and the physical and mental health consequences of such practices can be very unfortunate. Lastly, another way that gender affects health is harmful behavior and social expectations. For example, in some parts of the world it’s considered masculine to smoke, leading to extremely higher rates of smoking among men, and consequently higher rates of smoking related deaths.

Thanks again to USC for their support. I really appreciate it. Thanks for watching. Take care.