Women’s health has received plenty of attention in recent years. This is indeed a very fragile topic which many women find sensitive. However, women’s health needs to be explored. This paper will highlight issues surrounding women’s health and will seek to answer the following question.
Thesis statement – Women’s health has been in decline due to issue out of their control Evidence found by the department of health in 2006 stated that men are more likely to engage in risk taking behaviours than women. On average they drink more alcohol, smoke more cigarettes and take more drugs.
They use less sun ream and are involved in more accidents. Only 13% of men had seen their doctor in the last 2 weeks compared to 19% of women. (Carlson, 2004)
It is thought that your life expectancy could be based on the harder you work. Carlson 2004 stated that ‘ if your social class is based on employment, for men the less they earn, the sooner they die. For women, although there is still an effect of income on early death it is much weaker.
Carlson found in 2003 that men and women suffering from the same condition receive different treatment. For example, women in the US are less likely to get a kidney transplant than men. In the US women are less likely to be offered a coronary bypass if they have heart disease. She said that most research on AIDS or CHD (coronary heart disease) lack women.
It has been criticised that there are other factors occurring between the genders that could have an influence on their health behaviour. Factors such as what job the person does, their family health history, etc.
Travis argued in 1988 that health care for women has largely focused on their reproductive needs and all the associated services such as contraception, abortion, and infertility. Also ‘well woman’ clinics provide screening that are focused on women’s biological differences from men – cervical and breast screening.
She claims that this focus on reproduction meant that women’s health in other areas have been neglected. Here he is putting the gender differences down to the fact that women get special treatment for their biological problems, therefore women live longer because they get more attention on their treatment.
However when Carlson (2004) stated that if you social class is based on employment, for men the less they earn, the sooner they die. For women, although there is still an effect of income on early death it is much weaker.
This research supported Carlson’s research whereas in 1999 he said ‘ there are a number of ways in which a women’s role can affect their health, such as the fact that they are stereotyped by society as ‘carers’.
They often find themselves caring for sick or elderly people and they are also unpaid carers of young children’ this is where the women could pick up illness’s from there jobs or become stressed with the pressure of helping the ill. He continues ‘ women are more likely to be on the receiving end of domestic violence then men and many bring up children alone’ here one would disagree, nowadays many find that the domestic violence in homes are equalling out.
There are more stories happening about people wives hitting their husbands so one would think the domestic violence is equally out so many find it shouldn’t really make a difference. Many just find that men are frightened to tell somebody that women are hitting them, as that’s not part of their “description.”
‘ There are particular physical and mental health problems for carers, such as exhaustion and stress. Lone parents, particularly women, can suffer from low self-esteem and lack social support. When they work part-time or are unemployed they lack the economic resources to take part in activities that most people take for granted.’
This is like what was said before as the women stereotyped as the ‘carer’s’ then with all of the pressure of work load of the children; elderly; ill, and may get stress, however today many find that the gender roles in society are equalling out and so one would presume that the next statistics from the department of health will have less gender difference between them. (Carlson, 2004)
Research has found that gender differences have a biological explanation, for example to the different hormones, however biological explanations of gender differences are reductionism. It is too simple to assume that hormones are the cause of a specific condition. However this does not rule out the importance of biological factors, but rather to acknowledge that other explanations may be as important to consider.
Moving on to issues surrounding life beyond work, many women have little or no access to retirement or pension plans through their work, and many are not able to save enough money to retire in comfort or even to support themselves.
The social security and medicare programs are extremely important and helpful to the elderly, but are very modest and do not offer enough financial support for older women who have limited income resources. According to the Social Security Administration, in a
home with the husband and wife both receiving a social security benefit, if the woman’s husband dies, she stops receiving her original benefit. So her income is reduced by an average of about 40 percent.
Even with her husband gone, she must still pay for things that they had been paying for with two social security benefits. She could still have a mortgage, utilities, and automobile expenses that may not have been reduced by his death. She could also be paying for his medical expenses and any debt left unpaid by him. (Forsythe, 2007)
If actions are not taken to prevent poverty in retirement age women, what will happen? If women of retirement age are unable to support themselves, they will be supported by other means, namely the taxpayers. Many elderly people are supported by their children.