Gender Inequality and Health

Gender forms among the major determinants of health through the interaction of different factors such as material and cultural resources. In relation to this, it is important to understand that the relationship is based on health and gender through the analysis of power distribution, as well as the economic resources in both men and women. Gender relates to biological difference as well as an aspect of the social construct. The social contrast is inclusive of social and cultural differences found in men and women. This has great influence on public health, as well as the policy making. Gender inequality is narrowing in health, due to the implications brought about by these inequalities in men and women, who belong to different generations, countries, and social classes. It is important to understand gender, not as a homogenous group, but as experiences which shape men and women in their respective social society. This contributes greatly to understanding of how much gender inequalities contribute to health. Therefore, this essay is inclusive of the gender inequality and the narrowing, which it presents in health.
Longevity difference is a concept widely used in showing the relationship between gender and health. One way of understanding the longevity is by focusing on the gender differences as explained in the reference to the biological protection presented in women. In societies where gender equality takes a low apparent, women in such societies live shorter lives than the women found in high egalitarian societies. In societies which have advanced industrialization, the longevity found in the gender gap tends to close as a result of women assuming the behaviors of their male counterparts such as smoking, heavy alcohol drinking, as well as the increase of the workload carried out by women. At the same time, even in situations where women happen to live longer as compared to men, many of these women live in health conditions that are poor or suffer from disabilities; the quality of life of these women in such societies proves to be lower than that of men in the same society. Therefore, it is clear that in consideration of the lives lived by elderly people; there is always presence of disability being higher in women than that of men, caused by lack of adequate resources as well as social isolation.

The social factors further explain why mortality and exposure to serious diseases is higher in men than in women. In employment positions, men find themselves in the technical departments of their working area. These positions have great exposure to direct risks that relate to life for instance, dangerous machinery, bad weather conditions, poor environmental hazards, as well as exposure to toxic substances. Men are more socialised in participation in dangerous sports such as motorbike racing and rock climbing. Men have high risks of injuries that happen on the roads as they have the habit to drive faster and on many occasions while under alcohol influence as compared to women. For a long period, men have a high rate of smoking habit as compared to that of women. However, the percentage of women who involve themselves in smoking has increased in the recent past, but not as much as that of men. High smoking rates expose men to high risks of respiratory diseases. On drinking habits, it seems as it is normal for men to take alcohol in any age groups. Even though, women also involve themselves in alcohol taking. Men drink beyond the recommended capacity, which increases the chances of diseases associated with alcohol and the unaccepted behaviour out of the alcohol influence. These behaviours later lead to poor moral health, which expose men to contraction of sexually transmitted diseases.

Evidences have proved that the advocacy which relate to the health of men, having a base, in part, present in high level of consumption that relate to health care among women. In the industrialised societies, women find themselves visiting medical professionals more often than men, as well as their consumption of pharmaceutical products is higher than that of men. However, these health care measures have differences in their complexity, as well as their specialisation on care, where women have a lower access than men even after giving room to the disease severity differences. This is a clear reflection on the negative consequences present in the patriarchal and the male dominated society. In such societies, the values that relate to men are the determinants of the norms present in the public health policies, as well as the coverage of the general medical practice. In relation to this, the efforts needed in public health for the improvement of gender inequalities in health, should have been the centre of attention on structural processes, which are inclusive of the gender discrimination. The two factors have influence in power distribution, the patterning of power, and the accessibility of the resources needed for the provision of adequate health.

Moreover, gender inequalities are present in gender discrimination found in the labour market, which have consequences in the area of career opportunities. The consequences further result in power distribution being unequal, as well as the economic resources. Some of the impacts of this are the failure experienced in addressing the society problems which relate to male violence regarding women, as well as male refusal in the acceptance of parenting responsibilities. Women assume the abandoned responsibilities by men, aspects that greatly influence their health, as well as the children, thus, the health of future generation gets compromised.

Gender inequalities are also high in economic resources distribution and power, which in its turn affects the health of the society. In understanding of this relationship, it is necessary to consider the value given to the position of women in society. In most societies, women occupy a low occupation status, with unfavorable working conditions, at the same time accomplished by high demands, but with less control as compared to that of the male counterparts. It is common in the world to find women earning less than their male counterparts, even though both genders occupy the same positions with equal education attainment. This shows that the women’s income as compared to that of men is lower. The disadvantages attained in the socioeconomic status, as well as the economic instability, which get reflected by the short-term with low-paid employment opportunities in women, lead to decrease in their influence on the power, in income generation decisions. At the same time, women have a low influence in resources allocation, as well as in taking decisions in their households. These aspects play a key role in public health because many children find themselves depending on women after abandonment of their fathers. From of the single parent families, single mothers are in a higher number as compared to the single fathers. Thus, the social-economic envinronment brings consequences in children throughout their life, more so in health.

Power, as well as resource distribution, are the keys in public health policy and its practice. Gender inequality is apparent present at the micro, as well as the macro levels. For instance, there is an unequal distribution of the household income, mainly as a result of men having a high income compared to that of women hence, men carry greater control than women of income. Misuse present of power imbalance, which results from men economic control of resources, further results in occurrences of domestic violence. Mortality is a disadvantage that results from social economic effects presents in households, which happens to be higher in women than in men. Women find themselves in the retaining the burden of the primary responsibility, which relates to domestic tasks, even when women participate at equal capacity with men in the labour market. The imbalance present in the domestic power has great influence on gender roles, in relation to the value attached to them, which further promotes gender inequality in societies.

In addition to gender inequality present in households, institutions also present gender inequalities, as well as the economic policies. Therefore, gender inequality does not only disadvantage economic development, but also poses a threat to population health inclusive of the future generation. The public health put in place, and its strategies are in most cases gender-blind. The structured factors that relate to gender discrimination, as well as gender oppression, influence the power distribution, and consequently the accessibility to health resources, which promotes further gender inequality. In relation to this, any intervention present in public health, need first to have the structural processes addressed, for the purpose of reducing gender inequalities while maintaining the acquired gender inequity.

Women get undervalued than men as employees, in the sense that their working environment fails to have similar priority as compared to that of their male counterparts. Labour force gets affected, due to the presence of long-term illness, which a greater number of women take as compared to that of men. In addition, the increase of health problems by women results to inadequate provision of control at work. Even when men and women occupy the same occupation level, women experience lower control than that of men. As a result, lack of adequate control present at workplaces in women, further results in outcomes that are serious such as cardiovascular disease than in men.

It is important to have public health goals laying their emphasis on gender perspective in the interventions that relate to public health. When a person takes the viewpoint of the presence of such inequalities, they all turn to be unacceptable in relation to public health. In relation to this, any intervention in public health needs to focus on gender-specific strategies. For instance, Swedish National Institute of Public Health has plans, which relate to gender perspective application present in public health. The plan is made possible by employment of life course, which has integration advocating, in the attempts of social inequalities in health. The argument behind this plan has it’s base in the sense that structural processes, that have influence in power distribution, as well as access to economic resources, present in both men and women has to do with what gets referred to as inequalities in societies. Thus, any action that relates to these issues should emphasise on the life course point of view, acknowledging the biological determination that relates to social roles exposed to men and women. Thus, when young boys and girls in their tender schooling, get trained to show respect towards each other, thus, there is a likelihood of reduction of violence, or achievement of household equitable distribution happening at a later age.

One way of avoiding future problems is that, it is important to bring up children as egalitarian adults. The strategies presented in public health need to have a design in reference to the stage of life present in individuals. For instance, in consideration of elderly people in public health strategies and interventions, it is important to have incorporation understanding that relates to elderly. The understanding should relate to adaptations by the gender roles, which should lead to different expectations. Elderly men find difficulties in attempts to manage their own household tasks however, how simple they may seem to be due to their different roles at middle- age. On the other hand, elderly women experience substantial economic privations because they lack sufficient retirement benefits, as a result of them being home makers during their middle age and some working at part-time jobs.

From the above discussion, it is clear that the presence of gender inequalities, creates harm of the population, and it also hinders development. It imposes enormous costs on health matters, well-being of men, women, and children. The ability to have life improvement also gets affected by gender inequality. Gender inequality does not only affect the personal cost it also affects the farms and enterprises productivity; thus reducing the chances of reduction of poverty as well as economic progress, which exposes the population to poor health, due to the incapacity to meet daily needs. It creates a toll in the lives of the affected as well as the life quality.

It is not possible to identify or measure the full cost, but it is clear that the societies with the persistent presence of gender inequality, has to pay a high price in relation to poverty, frequent cases of malnutrition, illness, among other deprivations of health. In societies such as South Asia and China, female mortality rate compared to that of men is excessively high. The reasons behind this, is the norms, which show much preference to the sons, plus one child policy present in China, which has resulted in high mortality rates in girls as compared to boys in the same society. At the same time, the illiteracy level of mothers, as well as lack of schooling, like in many African societies, offers direct disadvantages to their children. The state of low schooling, results to the provision of care that is of poor quality which in turn results to rise in infant as well as child mortality associated with malnutrition. It is a fact that mothers with a high level of education have greater chances of adopting appropriate health behaviours as compared to those with low education. For instance, child immunisation as the mother is exposed to the vital immunisation, which should be done to an infant and the importance of the same.

It is also clear that the presence of adequate household income has an association with the increase in chances of a child’s survival, as well as better nutrition. The act of putting more income to women would serve a significant purpose in improving the health of household as compared to what always happen where higher income goes in the hand of men. It is unfortunate that the social norms have remained rigid in matters that relate to the appropriate division of labour as well as employment, which have lower payments, and further restricts the ability of women to improve health out of low income.

Moreover, gender inequalities present in schooling and distribution of urban jobs increase the chances to the spread of HIV and AIDs. Women get forced to offer sexual favours for the purposes of securing urban jobs, a state that exposes them to the contraction of HIV and AIDs. Low rates of schooling in girls aggravated by the societal norms exposes them to the state of offering sexual favours to men for the purposes of meeting their daily needs. The most disadvantaged are the poor women and girls as they always bear the brunt present on gender disparities, societal norms as well as stereotypes which at times impose costs to their male counterparts.

It is clear that gender inequality has a great effect on health matters. Therefore, it is a critical role for every society to improve the well-being of its members, through capturing of the social benefits, which have the association of improving the status of women, as well as that of girls because they are the most affected. One of the major elements that have the capacity to address inequality, which would in turn lead to the improvement of health, is the reformation of the institutions. This should be done through the establishment of equal rights and opportunities for both men and women. The state by which men and women have equal basic rights serves as an important goal, which can be achieved through the creation of economic, legal and social rights, which would expose men and women to equal participation on the productivity of the society, thus, attaining good health and quality life.

The second step that can facilitate the state of gender inequality is through fostering the developments, which have economic significance, in order to strengthen the incentives provision of equal resources, as well as participation. Creation of developments that increase incomes, at the same time reduces poverty, and then the gender inequality narrows. It is essential to note that the low income earners get forced by their prevailing circumstances to ration on their expenditure on education, matters that relate to health care and nutrition. Women and girls in such cases often bear the greater costs as compared to men and boys. Increase in household income, enhances fall in human capital that relates to gender disparities.
In conclusion, female face social disadvantages that result to poor expectation of women’s health as compared to that of men. It is vital for the societies to interact in order to bridge the biological differences that exist between men and women. Gender inequality is the significant public health point of concern, which has no ideological or moral acceptances. It is necessary for public health to have interventions, which addresses power distribution, autonomy, and applications of economic resources, opportunities, as well as equal rights for both men and women. Health policies should focus on reduction of gender inequality. They should also integrate the local, as well as the national strategies, which address the structural causes that relate to gender inequalities.

Women at one point in life face economic shocks that are gender-specific. From the above discussion, it is clear that women have a lower command of resources as compared to their male counterparts. On the other hand, men who the society believes as the bread winners are vulnerable to risks such as stress, which comes along with uncertainties or employment, as well as changes in the economy. It is important to take the different risks presented by gender on their vulnerability, taking into account the aspect of designing a social shield. At the same time, it is important to close the gap found between men and women in relation to their health matters, through narrowing of the present differences in the lifestyles of men and women. It is important to support the cultural explanations present in the gender inequalities that relate to traditional matters.

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