Essay Example on Ducation is a prime example

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Ducation is a prime example Considered a fundamental right yet often it is he girls that must either drop out of school or limit their time in education to carry out domestic duties that may include looking after a parent or sibling when their mothers are sick or out working More generally care obligations also create obstacles to women s full and meaningful participation in the public sphere The result is that women s specific priorities are often overlooked by the male dominated institutions responsible for making public policies and allocating budgets Even when care activities are paid the work remains undervalued Jobs in care are highly female dominated and are notoriously low status and badly paid This is partly due to gender ideologies which portray care work as unskilled as something which comes naturally to women While a range of socio economic factors influence health and wellbeing gender is of significance While women have lower mortality rates than men Annandale 2014 they also experience greater morbidity and are over represented in health statistics White 2013 This gives rise to the notion that men die quicker but women are sicker Bartley 2004 although recent figures show that the gender gap is closing Source Office for National Statistics 2014a 2014b 



There have been a range of theories as to how and why society influences gender inequalities and social theory can provide a context in which to interpret health patterns Feminist argue that society disadvantages women by constraining them and limiting their opportunities and although much has changed in the 20th century especially in capitalist society women remain exploited by male dominated organisations and structures Turner 2013 McDonnell et al 2009 Rogers 2009 and Marxists argue that society s social organisation benefits capitalism at the expense of the majority Miliband 2004 Callinicos 1999 Both perspective argue that women s position of subordination is largely the result of the interaction between patriarchy the dominance of men and the needs of capitalism Women are the main providers of informal care for children disabled and older people and some feminists argue men The effects of this role are many and can include mental wellbeing explaining the higher rates of depression in women of childbearing age Bebington 1996 Although gender specific roles have significant health consequences gender does not operate alone but interacts with other factors This can be illustrated by looking at the impact on women of socioeconomic status and inequality While men have often been the subjects of studies on the impact of socioeconomic inequality on health there is no reason to assume that such inequality matters less to women than it does for men 



This has the potential to exacerbate health inequalities between men and women but can lead to inequalities and different experiences of health between people of differing backgrounds within each gender Many women take career breaks to raise children or care for other family members while others work part time to fulfil their caring responsibilities as a result women tend to have a lower socioeconomic status than men Although data regarding the links between their socioeconomic status and health is relatively limited Annandale 2014 it is possible to surmise that more women are located at the lower end of the socioeconomic scale than men which would contribute to health inequalities between men and women These effects are particularly acute for single women with children Although some women who are married or in a stable relationship with a working partner may be of a lower socio economic status than their partner they benefit from the material advantages provided by their partner s socioeconomic position Source Office for National Statistics 2011 Many feminist perspectives have drawn on the medicalisation of women s bodies as an illustration of social control by a patriarchal medical profession arguing that most of those in a position of influence are male and use scientific knowledge formulated largely by men Feminists believe that men also primarily control the reproductive process including access to contraception pregnancy and childbirth and reproductive technology Women must submit themselves to male authority and knowledge reducing their ability to make their own informed decisions Abbot et al 2008 their submission to such medical intervention reinforces female characteristics of passivity and dependence White 2013 and can be seen as an illustration of patriarchal social control over women Scientific understanding of women s bodies with regard to reproduction has historically had consequences for their social role Doyal 1985


Science is often used as a tool to explain the natural world and its increasing application to the reproductive process reinforces both the assumption that women s nurturing role is natural and the expectation that they take on the role of carer Marxist feminists believe this has many advantages for the economy Since the advent of capitalism there has been a division of labour between work and home Zaretsky 1986 Labour performed at work is valued while that performed in the home domestic tasks still largely undertaken by women has no economic reward or value Marxist feminists believe that domestic labour performed by women including childcare provides the capitalist system with an army of unpaid labourers whose activities enable family members particularly men to work which subsequently contributes to capitalist growth In conclusion instead of reducing the health of men and women to a matter of pure biology we need to consider society s impact in terms of the roles it confers on them as well as its expectations of their behaviour because such social constraints exacerbate the health divisions between men and women However while gender has a significant effect on health inequalities these are not simply differences between men and women Gender related factors also lead to significant divisions within each gender illustrating that the impact of gender varies as a result of other social factors


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