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Unequal, Unfair, Ineffective and Inefficient Gender Inequity in Health: Why it exists and how we can change it
Author(s): Gita Sen and Piroska Östlin
Published: September 2007
Summary: This report provides a background of how gender is implicated in and interacts with the social determinants of health, identifying gender relations of power as being one of the most influential social determinants of health. The report outlines differences in health needs and vulnerability to health problems based on gender, how gender norms affect perceptions of health needs, and how gender inequalities ultimately negatively impact the health of both women and men. The effects of globalization on gendered social determinants of health are described. The report also goes into detail about how gender inequalities are also implicated in the politics of health care systems, and in the content and process of health research. The report also documents the actions various government and non-governmental organizations have taken to address these challenges. Included is a description of Health Canada’s Women’s Health Indicators project which is creating a set of indicators aimed at improving how women’s health is measured. The describes a second Health Canada initiative in which it is soliciting research in identified gaps in women’s health indicators. The report also makes suggestions as to how gender inequalities might be addressed and mitigated, including a list of seven policy approaches that can address gender inequality in health. It is emphasized that addressing these issues will require actions both inside and beyond the health sector. The report annexes include a list of background papers, and two case studies on Tunisia and South Africa.