Disrupting gender norms in health systems: making the case for change

The Lancet, Gender Equality, Norms, and Health Steering Committee, Published May 30, 2019

Summary

Restrictive gender norms and gender inequalities are replicated and reinforced in health systems, contributing to gender inequalities in health.
In this Series paper, we explore how to address all three through recognition and then with disruptive solutions.
We used intersectional feminist theory to guide our systematic reviews, qualitative case studies based on lived experiences, and quantitative analyses based on cross-sectional and evaluation research.
We found that health systems reinforce patients’ traditional gender roles and neglect gender inequalities in health, health system models and clinic-based programmes are rarely gender responsive, and women have less authority as health workers than men and are often devalued and abused.
With regard to potential for disruption, we found that gender equality policies are associated with greater representation of female physicians, which in turn is associated with better health outcomes, but that gender parity is insufficient to achieve gender equality. We found that institutional support and respect of nurses improves quality of care, and that women’s empowerment collectives can increase health-care access and provider responsiveness.
We see promise from social movements in supporting women’s reproductive rights and policies. Our findings suggest we must view gender as a fundamental factor that predetermines and shapes health systems and outcomes. Without addressing the role of restrictive gender norms and gender inequalities within and outside health systems, we will not reach our collective ambitions of universal health coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals. We propose action to systematically identify and address restrictive gender norms and gender inequalities in health systems.

Advertising (in)equality: the impacts of sexist advertising on women’s health and wellbeing

Women’s Health Victoria, Issues Paper No. 14, December 2018

 

The aim of this issues paper is to provide an overview of significant literature

currently published on the nature of gender portrayals in advertising, and the

impacts of these representations on women’s health and wellbeing, gender

inequality and attitudes and behaviours that support violence against women.

 

This issues paper found that the continued use of gender stereotypes

and increasing reliance on images that sexualise and objectify women in

advertisements undermines efforts to promote gender equality in Australia.

Gender-stereotyped portrayals limit the aspirations, expectations, interests and

participation of women and men in our society. These portrayals are associated

with a range of negative health and wellbeing outcomes and are highly

problematic for the prevention of family violence and other forms of violence

against women.

 

The studies cited in this paper demonstrate that there is a clear business

case for change. Brands, businesses and creative agencies can benefit from

portraying both women and men proportionately, respectfully and realistically.

 

The ‘revolutionary’ programs giving hope to LGBT domestic violence survivors

Updated 

Studies show people in same-sex relationships experience domestic violence at similar — and possibly higher — rates as opposite-sex couples.

But until recently survivors have suffered in silence and worse, been ignored and misunderstood by the health professionals and police who are supposed to help them, because of the persistent stigma and shame surrounding LGBT abuse and misconceptions that especially lesbian couples are immune from it.

Act To Prevent Men’s Violence Against Women A Guide For Community Action

Women’s Health West. 2018

This resource is for community members or groups who are planning to undertake actions to prevent men’s violence against women.

This resource details practical things you can do every day to prevent men’s violence against women. It also includes important information to consider before you take action, as well as links to further resources.

Sexual activity and sexual health among young adults with/without intellectual disability

BMC Public Health 201818:667

https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-018-5572-9

Abstract

Background

There is widespread concern about the sexual ‘vulnerability’ of young people with intellectual disabilities, but little evidence relating to sexual activity and sexual health.

Method

This paper describes a secondary analysis of the nationally representative longitudinal Next Steps study (formerly the Longitudinal Survey of Young People in England), investigating sexual activity and sexual health amongst young people with mild/moderate intellectual disabilities. This analysis investigated family socio-economic position, young person socio-economic position, household composition, area deprivation, peer victimisation, friendships, sexual activity, unsafe sex, STIs, pregnancy outcomes and parenting.

Results

Most young people with mild/moderate intellectual disabilities have had sexual intercourse by age 19/20, although young women were less likely to have sex prior to 16 than their peers and both men and women with intellectual disabilities were more likely to have unsafe sex 50% or more of the time than their peers. Women with intellectual disabilities were likely to have been pregnant and more likely to be a mother.

Conclusion

Most young people with mild/moderate intellectual disabilities have sex and are more likely to have unsafe sex than their peers. Education and health services need to operate on the assumption that most young people with mild/moderate intellectual disabilities will have sex.

Rosie in the Classroom: Lesson plans for teachers

Rosie, a national harm prevention initiative by the Dugdale Trust for Women & Girls.

Rosie in the Classroom is an educational program based on the original Rosie Videos, created to assist teachers in talking about difficult but important topics.

Topics like sexting or respect in relationships should be incorporated into the curriculum so that all teenagers are aware of their rights and can encourage respect within their school community. Each module includes a downloadable lesson plan and video which can be screened in class.

These lesson plans have been written by Briony O’Keeffe, lead teacher at Fitzroy High School and facilitator of the Fitzroy High School Feminist Collective.