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Gender Inequalities in Health Sociology

Keywords: gender health inequalities, category and health inequalities

This essay aims to understand just why there are health inequalities between both genders and the social classes. This will be achieved by analysing the findings of sociological research, whilst talking about the main issues with how health inequalities are assessed. The social and structural explanations on why health inequalities appear will also be evaluated.

In 2009, The House of Commons Health Committee publicized a report, which found that even though people's health was enhancing in all cultural groups, the difference between your health of the public classes possessed widened. The reason stated for this, was that the health of those in higher public classes was improving much quicker than the health of those in the low public classes. The characters within in the record demonstrated that if you are in an increased communal group you will live longer than someone in the lower interpersonal classes. The article also explained that not only do poorer people pass away younger; in addition they suffer more many years of ill health. Access to health care for the lower classes is also uneven and the ones who are poor, seniors and disabled are less likely to receive medicine than those who find themselves young and able-bodied. A report done by the Learning Disabilities Observatory alleged that was because older people and disabled were unable to access healthcare due to reduced freedom, being struggling to communicate health problems to experts and their carers failing to identify health problems. (Eric Emerson, 2010)

The Health Committee statement also illustrates the interrelations of gender inequalities and socioeconomic position. On a physical level females who had been born in a lot more affluent areas of London, such as Kensington and Chelsea experienced a significantly higher life expectancy (87. 8 years) than females who were created in Glasgow (77. 1 years), which has the lowest life span figure in the UK. Subsequently, even though the life expectancy for males and females in social category l (professional) and interpersonal course V (unskilled manual) has improved compared to past years, the disparity between them, continues to be widening. (House of Commons, Health Committee, 2009)

A cultural reason was also given for why men's life span is more significantly influenced than women's life span. It was advised by the Men's Health Forum that men will take risks with their health due to them seeking to handle stress and conforming to role models in culture. Men, in comparison to women also make poor use of key good care services such as pharmacies and GP surgeries. That is thought to be because men think it is culturally unacceptable to discuss their health problems. Men are also more likely to pass away of health issues relating to their weight, as they are less able than women to identify when they are overweight, as weight is seen as a 'women's issue'. (Memorandum by the mens health message board, 2008)

However, even although data found within the Health Committee's report looks convincing the majority of the data is dependant on morbidity rates, which are not always reliable, as not everyone who gets ill may record their health problems. Even human mistake and health issues not being recorded accurately often means that data based mostly proof health inequalities can be unreliable.

A previous statement done in 2004 by Hilary Graham, presented evidence that advised that if your parents were poor or in poverty then you were already predisposed to having illness and having a higher mortality and morbidity rate. This is due to moms who are poor not having the ability to afford nutritious food and not having the ability to access health care. Therefore can lead to babies being blessed with a lesser labor and birth weight, and poor cognitive and physical development. This can affect further problems in health as a grown-up and therefore, further inequalities in health than somebody who was created to parents with an increased income. The studies of the survey done by Graham also proved that those coping with condition or an impairment were less inclined to avoid monetary hardships because of their persisting health complications and the discrimination they confronted, meaning these were less inclined to maintain long term employment. Subsequently, those who have belong to a higher socioeconomic group experienced a much better chance of residing in employment even though faced with ill health. It had been also advised within the report that socioeconomic position influences a person's health indirectly by influencing 'intermediary factors' such as their house and environment (e. g. poor living and working conditions) and psychosocial factors such as their stress levels and romantic relationships of their family. (Graham, 2004)

On analysing Grahams' report, there are certain criticisms that may be made on the trustworthiness of her conclusions. For example, all the data that presented in her report is secondary; none from it is her own. Therefore, the validity and reliability of the results highlighted in her report is only as good as the folks she gathered it from. However, the research she performed use was up -to - night out and from credible resources.

There are ethnic and structural explanations that also help us realize why there are inequalities in health between your genders and public classes. In relations to gender inequalities in health the social/ behavioural reason shows that men are more likely to suffer from ill health insurance and die young than women scheduled to role models in society and the necessity to allow them to feel masculine. As a result of this, young men specifically are more likely to smoke, consume alcohol and take drugs. An increased use of alcohol and medication taking in particular is thought to be a prime reason why young men are more likely to commit suicide. Women, on the other palm have been socialised to pay greater attention to their health and body as it sometimes appears as a way to explain their femininity. However, more women have problems with eating disorders than men do. (Waugh, C. et al 2008) Many feminists think that women no longer have control over medical care they acquire, and any health care they are given is suitable for doctors and medical center hours. They also claim that women are remaining to suffer at the hands of male doctors, who are more likely to diagnose feminine patient's symptoms as that of a mental illness. (Browne, 2008)

The structural/ materialistic description for inequalities in health has advised that women are more likely to get ill because of their role in society as caregivers because they're more likely to suffer from stress and mental disease. Women who do part-time work are also more likely to suffer from ill health because they are less well paid and also have fewer incentives than women who are able to do full time work. Men on the other hands often do jobs that are dangerous, difficult and challenging (e. g. warehouse work, military jobs etc. ) The structural explanation also shows that those who find themselves in the lower social classes are more likely to suffer from ill health because they are less in a position to take part in healthy lifestyle alternatives due to lack of income. Also, they are much more likely to do manual careers and have less overall to buy good quality foods. Lack of transport could make it harder to access medical care and stress of not having enough money can result in further health problems, which might eventually lead to unemployment. Marxist's claim capitalist society causes visitors to become ill as it seeks to serve only the bigger classes. Being struggling to work is seen as this is of sickness, whilst Doctors have emerged as agencies of cultural control with the power to sign people off work. Yet no longer working can equally make people sick by increasing the risk of ill health, depression and suicide. (Kirby, M. et al 1997)

Both explanations are equally valid; however, the structural description talks about the wider picture of why people in lower classes or certain genders will have problems with high morbidity and mortality rates, as they cannot afford healthy lifestyles like the bigger classes. The social explanation gives insight into why one gender more than the other seeks health care and just why data for morbidity if higher for women than men yet mortality levels are greater than men than in women. (Martin Holborn, 2004)

In conclusion, the results in both reports from medical Committee and by Hilary Graham both show that the low your social class, the bigger your threat of suffering from poor health and lower life span. Furthermore, the cultural explanation offers reason to why men are less inclined to visit the doctor scheduled to attempting to comply with masculine stereotypes, whereas women should look after their health. On the other hand, the structural explanation gives greater information into how your interpersonal class can affect your health by restricting your usage of medical and the methods to living a wholesome lifestyle.

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