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Explain and evaluate the four explanations for health inequalities that are used when explaining gender inequalities in health.

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Explain and evaluate the four explanations for health inequalities that are used when explaining gender inequalities in health. "Gender refers to the way men and women think and behave as a result of learning in society" (Senior, M et al (1998) Pg 129) Gender is best explained as how a person fits into society and its expectations of that individual as either male or female, sex is the biological difference. The way we are raised has the potential to affect health due to the values and beliefs that are contained by that person. Whether an individual is born male or female there is the potential for their gender to affect their health status. Within society it is known that women live longer than men, men are more likely to have a heart attack than women are. Gender can be a result of health inequalities, and it cannot be separated from social class. Below four different explanations for health inequalities are explained and evaluated in relation to gender. Biological/genetic explanation This explanation focuses on the ways in which women suffer due to biological conditions related to "pregnancy and childbirth, contraception and abortion, menstruation and the menopause, cervical, ovarian and breast cancer" (Senior. ...read more.


Although due to illness associated with the female employment is made extremely difficult. Wadsworth 1995 found evidence to support the social selection explanation to health inequalities. It was suggested by Wadsworth "that boys who had experienced serious illness in childhood were more likely to be downwardly mobile by the age of 26" (Senior, M et al (1998) Pg 89). Just because a person is healthy does not mean they will move up a social class, ill health does not make people move down the social scale if that person is already in a high class. Cultural/behavioural explanation The cultural explanation to health inequalities stresses that it is the lifestyle choice of the individual which influences their health. Ill health is a consequence of behaviour, for example poor eating habits and diet, smoking, lack of exercise and drinking alcohol. It is argued that these inequalities will be reduced if and when the individual makes healthier lifestyle choices. The lifestyle of an individual is believed to be a result of cultural choices made by different social classes and ethnic groups. For example those who are working class are more likely to eat white bread than professionals do and the manual workers consume twice as much as the working class. ...read more.


This in turn leads to poor living conditions and a poor diet, another example of how outside factors can affect our health is the type of industries which some individuals may be employed as these conditions are dusty and noisy which can cause respiratory diseases and deafness. Women are ore likely to be unemployed and at home looking after the children this can lead to social isolation for the female, women do not report a lot of illness as they do not have the time to be sick as they are the main carers within the family. Women's illnesses are linked to their role as carers within the family environment. Women have been protected from dangerous jobs and situations through the laws of the land, in the past this may not have been untrue although society is changing as is the traditional roles of male and female. It can be argued that not all of those who live in poorer conditions will suffer from greater ill health. This approach does not explore why some individuals in the same situation suffer more ill health. Gender roles within society are shifting and this approach may be considered dated. It focuses on the traditional gender roles and does not relate men to unemployment and women to paid work. ...read more.

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