Men and women are different. And the difference, whether real or perceived, matters. Simply put, the health status of people is often affected by whether you are male or female, as well as the gender stereotypes that are prevalent in any particular society. The past two decades have seen considerable activism by women to improve the quality of their health and health care. Recently men too have begun to draw attention to the negative implications of “maleness” for their health. Recent studies of gender differences in health point to a lack of data and to the importance of understanding changing gender relations; differences in power and access to resources between women and men, and changing expectations of appropriate gender roles and behaviours. Poverty, social exclusion, unemployment, poor working conditions and unequal gender relations have a profound influence on patterns of health and illness. Despite recent progress, around half a million women continue to die each year as a direct consequence of pregnancy and childbirth, and more than ten times that number are seriously disabled. It is the centrality of these issues in women’s lives that has led many to adopt the concept.

This book ‘Gender and Health’ contains groundbreaking studies to explore health, healthcare and health policy throughout the nations. It shows the importance of placing a primary emphasis on addressing the social and economic sources of ill health at national, provincial and community levels. The book, additionally, discusses reproductive and sexual health rights, and examines the national and international frameworks that set out the content – and the mechanisms for the enforcement – of these rights. It also focuses on specific health issues that relate to women and to men, and set out the policies and laws that regulate these issues in the public and private sector.

This comprehensive book brings together a groundbreaking contribution by world-wide authors and eminent specialists that uses a gender lens to explore health, healthcare and health policy world-wide that will be useful to a broad range of scholars and professionals in psychology, sociology, social policy, gender studies, social work, medicine, and law.